By Hilary Fraser
This examine is a vital contribution to the highbrow historical past of Victorian England which examines the religio-aesthetic theories of a few primary writers of the time. Dr Fraser starts with a dialogue of the classy dimensions of Tractarian theology after which proceeds to the orthodox certainties of Hopkins' concept of inscape, Ruskin's and Arnold's moralistic feedback of literature and the visible arts, and Pater's and Wilde's religion in a faith of paintings. the writer identifies major cultural and ancient stipulations which made up our minds the interdependence of aesthetic and non secular sensibility within the interval. She argues that definite tensions within the considered Wordsworth and Coleridge - tensions among poetry and faith, uprising and response, individualism and authority - persevered to happen themselves through the Victorian age, and as society turned more and more democratic, faith in flip turned more and more own and secular.
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Additional info for Beauty and Belief: Aesthetics and Religion in Victorian Literature
144 And the idea has a much longer history. The inherent distinction in the Bible between the apparent order of things open to human comprehension and the hidden order of the providential first cause gave birth to the 34 Theology traditional Christian concept of the liber naturae, a world of symbols to be interpreted as evidence of a divine creator. However, in the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge, the sacramentalism of nature was given vital new expression. The poetic insights of Coleridge and Wordsworth were further corroborated by Keble's reading of earlier Christian thinkers, particu larly the writings of the Church Fathers and Bishop Butler.
T. Coleridge, he outlines a plan for the lectures which will work out 'the relation between [the art of poetry], and practical goodness, moral and religious'. 98 His belief in the divine nature of poetry is the starting-point of his whole theory. Poetry is the divinely inspired interpreter of the Word of God, and the subject is approached with religious awe. His task is 'most serious, well nigh sacred', and poetry has the dignity of a Sacrament. Religion and poetry are at one in demanding the same temper of mind and providing a framework for the articulation of man's strongest feelings and a means to the attainment of highest truth.
He even derived an understanding of how the Christian values what he sees as an 'imperfect 33 Beauty and Belief shadowing forth' of what he is incapable of seeing. But all this was via the unorthodox route of dependence upon the powers of human imagination. Coleridge, too, believed that a proper appreciation of the beauties of the natural world expanded and transformed the soul of the observer. Throughout his work he celebrates nature as the symbolic language of God. His religious views of the 1790s, in particular, attest to a strong sense of the sacramental in nature.
Beauty and Belief: Aesthetics and Religion in Victorian Literature by Hilary Fraser