Victorian Poets and the Changing Bible by Charles LaPorte

By Charles LaPorte

Victorian Poets and the altering Bible charts the influence of post-Enlightenment biblical feedback on English literary tradition. The eighteenth and 19th centuries observed a frequent reevaluation of biblical notion, during which the Bible’s poetic nature got here to be noticeable as a vital part of its non secular importance. Understandably, then, many poets who this interpretative revolution―including Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning―came to reconceive their optimum vocational targets: if the Bible is basically poetry, then smooth poetry may practice a cultural function resembling that of scripture. This context both illuminates the goals and achievements of recognized Victorian unbelievers resembling Arthur Hugh Clough and George Eliot, who additionally spoke back enthusiastically to the poetic perfect of an encouraged text.

Building upon a up to date and ongoing reevaluation of faith as an essential element of Victorian tradition, Charles LaPorte indicates the long-lasting relevance of faith in a interval often linked to its decline. In doing so, he is helping to delineate the midcentury form of a literary dynamic that's more often than not higher understood in Romantic poetry of the sooner a part of the century. The poets he examines all wrestled with smooth findings in regards to the Bible's fortuitous ancient composition, but they owed a lot in their remarkable literary luck to their skill to capitalize upon the growth of avant-garde biblical interpretation.

This book's revisionary and provocative thesis speaks not just to the process English poetics but in addition to the common sense of nineteenth-century literary hierarchies and to the ongoing evolution of faith within the glossy era.

Victorian Literature and tradition Series

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Her fervent devotion to the Romantic cult of poetry made her verses seem quaint even to members of her own literary and social milieu. So did her devotion to the rhetoric of evangelical Christianity. Yet despite such quaintnesses (or possibly owing to them), Barrett Browning came to win greater critical acclaim in her lifetime than any previous woman poet writing in English. She became, in other words, a great voice in Victorian poetry. 4 The following chapter addresses how Barrett Browning eventually used this distinctive voice to achieve an unlikely prominence in revolutionary Victorian understandings of hermeneutics, inspiration, and poetry.

Might a Seraph guest, / Still, 41 42 “Mrs. ” (21–22). 24 The opening passage is worth citing, since Barrett’s additional metaphor in the Seraphim preface of the Christian poet as a “seeing eagle” also comes from here: When the young Eagle, with exulting eye, Has learn’d to dare the splendor of the sky, And leave the Alps beneath him in his course, To bathe his crest in morn’s empyreal source, Will his free wing, from that majestic height, Descend to follow some wild meteor’s light, Which far below, with evanescent fire, Shines to delude, and dazzles to expire?

The manner in which Chateaubriand connects his emotional experience to the broader question of aesthetics over the ensuing six hundred odd pages helped to win over many of his artistic contemporaries. Poetics, after all, comes first in his list of all possible goods: Christianity is “la plus poétique, la plus humaine, la plus favorable à la liberté, aux arts et aux lettres” (the most poetic, the most humane, the most favorable to liberty, art, and literature). Barrett, normally hostile to French royalist Catholic polemic, was apparently swept away.

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