John Keble

Kirstie Blair

in Victorian Literature

ISBN: 9780199799558
Published online March 2011 | | DOI:
John Keble

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John Keble (b. 1792–d. 1866) is remembered as one of the founding figures of the Oxford Movement (or Tractarianism). J. H. Newman credited Keble’s Assize Sermon of 1833, “National Apostasy,” as marking the start of the movement, though Keble himself denied this in later life. His critical reputation today largely rests on his authorship of several notable works of literary theory and The Christian Year (1827), perhaps the best-selling book of poetry of the 19th century. Keble also wrote many sermons and tracts, including several of the Tracts for the Times; edited the complete works of the Anglican Richard Hooker; and wrote a collection of poetry for and about children, Lyra Innocentium. Unlike fellow Tractarians such as Newman, Keble seldom engaged in open controversy, yet his works and his life as a model clergyman were aimed at supporting the renewed doctrines and practices of the Church of England, and through his writings and his personality he became a revered influence on younger generations of Victorian High Churchmen and women. The popularity and familiarity of his religious verse also had a significant impact on later poets, including Matthew Arnold, Christina Rossetti, and Thomas Hardy. Keble College, Oxford, was founded in his honor after his death.

Article.  4175 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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