“Like A Black Bell”: Henry Carlile and the Negative Theology of Place

Paul Giles

in Transnationalism in Practice

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640492
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652129 | DOI:
“Like A Black Bell”: Henry Carlile and the Negative Theology of Place

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This chapter discusses the issue of negative theology of place, focusing on the poetry of Henry Carlile. It highlights the variety of influences on Carlile's works and his recognition of blackness not only as a matter of racial identity politics and cultural difference but as a metaphorical trope and a recognition of the jarring discrepancy between a hypothetical metaphysical fretwork and its actual corporeal embodiment. The chapter argues that the geographical and theological crosscurrents at work in these poems exemplify the limitations of reading American narratives in flatly regional or national terms, while also suggesting ways in which hemispheric and other kinds of perspective can orient the compass of American literature in unexpected new directions.

Keywords: theology of place; Henry Carlile; poetry; blackness; identity politics; metaphorical trope; corporeal embodiment; American narratives

Chapter.  6335 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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