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Cowinner, 1971 SAMLA Studies Award
This perceptive, carefully documented study challenges the traditional assumption that the supernatural virtually disappeared from eighteenth-century poetry as a result of the growing rationalistic temper of the late seventeenth century. Mr. Morris shows that the religious poetry of eighteenth-century England, while not equaling the brilliant work of seventeenth-century and Romantic writers, does reveal a vital and serious effort to create a new kind of sacred poetry which would rival the sublimity of Milton and of the Bible itself.
Tracing the major varieties of religious poetry written throughout the century—by major figures and by their now vanished contemporaries—the author explains how later poets and critics made significant departures from the established norms. These changes in religious poetry thus become a valuable means of understanding the shift from a neoclassical to a Romantic theory of literature.
David B. Morris is an associate professor in the Department of Literature at American University.
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Religious poetry, English religious poetry, Christian poetry
Literature in English, British Isles
Morris, David B., "The Religious Sublime: Christian Poetry and Critical Tradition in 18th-Century England" (1972). Literature in English, British Isles. 44.