This perceptive, carefully documented study challenges the traditional assumption that the supernatural virtually disappeared from eighteenth-century poetry as a result of the growing rationalistic temper of the late seventeenth century. Mr. Morris shows that the religious poetry of eighteenth-century England, while not equaling the brilliant work of seventeenth-century and Romantic writers, does reveal a vital and serious effort to create a new kind of sacred poetry which would rival the sublimity of Milton and of the Bible itself.
Tracing the major varieties of religious poetry written throughout the century -- by major figures and by their now vanished contemporaries -- the author explains how later poets and critics made significant departures from the established norms. These changes in religious poetry thus become a valuable means of understanding the shift from a neoclassical to a Romantic theory of literature.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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