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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the devotional poetry of John Keble, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. In two broad sections, the chapter considers definitions of poetry and anxieties about its limitations identified by poets and theologians, focusing on Keble’s Lectures on Poetry, Dora Greenwell’s ‘Inquiry’, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s prefatory notes and verses. The second section considers one response to the hopes and concerns raised by these definitions by looking at how analogy is developed by Keble, Rossetti, and Hopkins to answer their requirements for theologically informed verse. In the case of the Tractarian poets, the result is a poetics of reserve that seeks moral and divine guidance in the natural world. For Hopkins, however, analogy is shown to transmute into a lively and active celebration of incarnation. This chapter concludes by suggesting a correlation between form and function in the devotional poetry of the period.

Keywords: poetry, poetics, analogy, Christianity, John Keble, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Gerard Manley Hopkins

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