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Religious poetry has often been regarded as minor poetry and dismissed in large part because poetry is taken to require direct experience; whereas religious poetry is taken to be based on faith, that is, on second or third hand experience. The best methods of thinking about "experience" are given to us by phenomenology.
Poetry and Revelation is the first study of religious poetry through a phenomenological lens, one that works with the distinction between manifestation in which everything is made manifest and revelation in which the mystery is re-veiled as well as revealed. Introduction Part 1 1. Eliot's Rose-Garden Part 2 4. God's Little Mountains 5.
Transcendence in Tears 7. Uncommon Equivocation in Hill Part 3 8. Susannah without the Cherub 9. Reading is already theologically inflected, and so is any phenomenology. So while Hart is concerned with the experience of reading poetry, he is at the same time concerned with the ways such reading shapes our sense of phenomenology, and thereby with a theological inflection to phenomenology.
Reading modern religious poetry — Gerard Manley Hopkins, T. Eliot, Geoffrey Hill, first of all, and then other Australian and European voices — means responding to the range of Christian theology which frames that poetry, and in to the ways this reading frames a version of phenomenology. And if there is any phenomenological bracketing of the world, it is through a capacity to register shifts in representation framed by this religious experience.
The book is therefore a meshing of specifically Christian experience of modern religious poetry with the phenomenological apprehension of that experience; and the two, for Hart, are mutually inflecting. Poetry can offer new resources for such a phenomenology, and this is the connection Hart is concerned with excavating. This twinning shapes his book. We are in the orbit of a poetics of phenomenology, here, with, in Part I, Eliot distinguishing between a poetry written in the language of philosophy, and a philosophy articulated through the language of poetry.
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We favour the latter. Part I develops a close reading of religious poetry as a phenomenological theology. Hart reads Gerard Manley Hopkins and T.
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Eliot as poets of religious revelation. In Part II, this attention shifts to the limits of religious poetry, described by Geoffrey Hill, and the limits of poetic revelation, rather than of the poetry of revelation. This poetic scope is matched by a philosophical scope, asking after the limits of phenomenology from Husserl to Derrida, Heidegger, Michel Henry, and Jean-Luc Marion, but also with Levinas and Blanchot, in particular.
And Hart brings each of these discourses into a further conversation with Christian theology, ranging from Patristic thinking forwards.
Revelation Poem by Robert Frost - Poem Hunter
The work of the book is in plotting this triangulation, and this plotting is subject to its own transcendental scrutiny: what kind of experience could account for the conflation, or at least the coincidence, of these distinct modes in the act of reading? There is certainly a phenomenological shaping of reading experience. The more obvious reference point is Jean-Luc Marion, and his sense of the limits of intuitive experience, but Hart poses the question directly to Husserl.
When aroused, they seem to rise up and hop onto a lexical Free Fall for Beth These cloudless nights, the sky becomes a wheel where suns revolve around an axle star Look there, and choose. Decide which moon is yours. Sink Lethe-ward, held only by a heel. Who can tell? To see is not to know, but Graphic Bliss Promises made behind the veil the self-committed to the unsaid are realized in graphic bliss tempered by impermanence those lurid dreams of the obscene exist beyond morality harbored in the inky depths where restraints tempt the fates chains cast aside in pursuit of revelation deep within no longer held by Guilt I attempt to peer into the murky depth of my Revealing Venus He was jaded with prostitutes.
The young ones were vacuous, their bodies unleavened bread. The mature models scored by the violence of disappointment. Both the naive and the world-weary were dull molds. The sculptor and anatomist, delved deeply into the inquiry of form.