Between the Temple and the Cave

Between the Temple and the Cave: The Religious Dimensions of the Poetry of E.J. Pratt

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Between the Temple and the Cave
    Book Description:

    Drawing on a wide variety of newly available source material, Angela McAuliffe examines the roots of Pratt's religious attitudes, including his strict Methodist upbringing in Newfoundland and his plans to enter the ministry. She explores Pratt's early prose and unpublished poetry, including his theses on demonology and Pauline eschatology and the unpublished poem "Clay," to trace the origins of religious ideas and motifs that occur in his later work.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6848-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. 1 “Up from Newfoundland”: The Preacher in Search of the Poet
    (pp. 3-38)

    This exploration, like many others, might well have begunin medias resrather thanin principio,yet it seems that to attempt to bring into focus the religious and theological dimensions implicit in the poetry of E.J. Pratt without reference to the early years of his life would be to invite further misunderstanding of the man, and greater misinterpretation of his work. The atmosphere of his family and home, the natural and social environment in which he grew up, and the particular orientation of his education all contributed to the way in which Pratt envisioned both his own immediate world...

  7. 2 “The Good Lord” with “a Glittering Monocle”: The Problem of God
    (pp. 39-64)

    Unbeliever, agnostic, humanist, Christian - the fact that the most vocal critics of E.J. Pratt’s poetry have been able to attribute to him such a diversity of religious positions¹ indicates one of the major sources of ambiguity and irony in his work. Although such labels are often applied indiscriminately and without adequate definition, few readers, however they choose to designate Pratt, would deny the presence of religious concerns in his poetry, or claim that the spiritual tradition which he inherited and the philosophical and theological studies which he later undertook left no mark on his imagination.

    It may be assumed...

  8. 3 “Ghosts of the Apocalypse”
    (pp. 65-122)

    Whatever room the available biographical data may still allow for speculation about Pratt’s religious position, critics will probably concur, as they have in the past, that the vision of existence reflected in his poetry is an “apocalyptic” one.¹ If they intend to make more than a general observation, and if they proceed any further in their application of this adjective to Pratt’s work, they are likely to explain their use of it in terms related to the literary genre which most are unaware the poet explored in detail inStudies in Pauline Eschatology and Its Background(loa, 11-22).² The language,...

  9. 4 “A Tendency to ... Fatalism Tempered with Humanity”
    (pp. 123-156)

    To this point in our exploration, we have paid little attention to the part played by determinism and fate in Pratt’s poetry. These forces cannot without distortion be separated from the totality of his eschatological vision, or from the apocalyptic language and imagery in which he expresses it most frequently. In the course of an interview with Ronald Hambleton which was broadcast over CBC Radio on 22 January 1955, Pratt remarked that, although he did not consider his work to be “of the same order as theApocalypse,” it was true that his earliest years had formed in him “a...

  10. 5 The Wheel Comes Full Circle: The Atoning Christ
    (pp. 157-198)

    It is not difficult to see how the image of God as an impersonal but powerful ruler of the universe, shaped in part by the influences of Pratt's childhood and reinforced by certain trends in the theology of his time, lent itself to an eschatological view of history, and encouraged him often to envision the world and the events of universal or local consequence that took place within it in apocalyptic proportion and colour. What is not quite as frequently acknowledged is the possibility that Pratt may have cultivated such a vision in much of his poetry for the rhetorical...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 199-204)

    There is a sense in which, with journey completed, the reader as explorer may feel that he or she does indeed know Pratt and his poetry for the first time. The degrees of longitude and latitude have been recorded; the coastlines have been charted; the main physical features surveyed and put on the map; climate, prevailing winds, and precipitation noted; flora and fauna identified and photographed. The mists of myth have been gradually dispelled, and some of the assumptions have given way to certitude, yet for all the knowledge, as the explorer withdraws and surveys the whole, much of the...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 205-226)
  13. Bibiliography
    (pp. 227-244)
  14. Index
    (pp. 245-250)