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date: 13 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the relationship between devotion and poetry in the period as one mediated through sound and listening. Poems that express a feeling and experience of devotion deliberately and self-consciously ask readers to feel and repeat their faith through meter and rhythm: the sound the poem makes, measured through prosody, forges a path to God. The chapter addresses how this devotional sound is transmitted and received in poems by Christopher Smart, Isaac Watts, and John Newton in the context of contemporary prosody, the Psalms, and the development of the hymn. It also addresses writers such as David Hartley, John and Charles Wesley, and Anna Barbauld to argue for the affective exuberance of “sound” in the period’s devotional poetry, one that is later eclipsed by a Romantic turn to the visual and visionary.

Keywords: poetry, genre, devotional poetry, hymnody, meditation, religion, Romanticism

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