‘A sensibility for the infinite’: Metaphor, Symbol, Form, and the Sublime

David Fuller

in Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646821
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744853 | DOI:
‘A sensibility for the infinite’: Metaphor, Symbol, Form, and the Sublime

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This chapter discusses Brown's treatment of metaphor in God and Mystery in Words. Brown's aim of avoiding the opposite errors of too much mystery and too much explanation is tested and developed through the work of a range of poets and poet-theorists — Milton, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake — for whom poetry is a form of sacramental knowledge. Other aspects of poetry are identified as being potentially vehicles of religious experience: the symbol, poetic form, the sublime. The argument is exemplified by discussions of poems by G. M. Hopkins and Henry Vaughan. The fundamental contention is that what is for Brown a vehicle may be the thing itself. As the Australian Roman Catholic poet Les Murray puts it, ‘Religions are poems’. The truths of religion are symbolic of realities here, and, it may be, only here.

Keywords: David Brown; Milton; Wordsworth; Coleridge; Hopkins; Vaughan; metaphor; symbol; poetic form; the sublime

Chapter.  6240 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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