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Theology, Aesthetics, and CultureResponses to the Work of David Brown$
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Robert MacSwain and Taylor Worley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646821

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646821.001.0001

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

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

(p.213) 16 ‘A sensibility for the infinite’: Metaphor, Symbol, Form, and the Sublime
Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture

David Fuller

Oxford University Press

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

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