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Christian Poetry in the Post-Christian Day: Geoffrey Hill, R. S. Thomas, Elizabeth Jennings

Jean Ward

Despite Nietzsche’s predictions, Christianity has not faded away; Christianity and post-Christianity exist alongside each other in the Western world. But today’s Christian poet speaks to an audience that often has little understanding of the language, symbols and theological concepts that inform his or her work. This study looks selectively at the work of three poets, two grounded in the Anglican and one in the English Roman Catholic tradition, attempting to show how each has responded to this situation. Geoffrey Hill, R. S. Thomas and Elizabeth Jennings, each in different and inventive ways, draw on the rich resources of Christian culture, literary, liturgical, mystical and devotional, reaching far back into English tradition as well as outside it, and by implication revealing an element of regret at the consequences of the English Reformation.

BIC Classifications

  • Literature & literary studies (D)
    • Literature: history & criticism (DS)
      • Literary studies: general (DSB)
        • Literary studies: from c 1900 - (DSBH)
  • Humanities (H)
    • Religion & beliefs (HR)

BISAC Classifications

  • Literary Criticism (LIT)
    • LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh (LIT004120)
  • Religion (REL)
    • RELIGION / General (REL000000)

THEMA Classifications

  • Biography, Literature & Literary studies (D)
    • Literature: history & criticism (DS)
      • Literary studies: general (DSB)
        • Literary studies: c 1900 to c 2000 (DSBH)
        • Literary studies: from c 2000 (DSBJ)
  • Philosophy & Religion (Q)
    • Religion & beliefs (QR)
  • Language qualifiers (2)
    • Indo-European languages (2A)
      • Germanic & Scandinavian languages (2AC)
        • English (2ACB)