Engaging with four English poems or groups of poems-the anonymous medieval Crucifixion lyrics; William Langland's Piers Plowman, John Donne's Divine Poems, and John Milton's Paradise Lost-this book examines the nature of poetic encounter with God. At the same time, the author makes original contributions to the discussion of critical dilemmas in the study of each poem or group of poems. The main linguistic focus of this book is on the nature of dialogue with God in religious poetry, an area much neglected by grammarians and often overlooked in studies of literary style. It constitutes an important contribution to our understanding of the relationship between literature and theology.
’I highly recommend Charlotte Clutterbuck's Encounters with God…Her critical voice has both a convincing straightforwardness and a personal investment in religious poetry. She reads each text not for its psychological or socio-political or gendered subtexts; rather, she responds to each poem on its own terms as a sincere confession of the religious experience itself…Her sensitivity to tensions between lexis (what is said) and syntax (how it is said) is particularly acute…an intriguing and entertaining communion of mutually complementary essays.’ Christianity and Literature ’… intelligent and rewarding book… Clutterbuck's focus on grammar proves to be a valuable heuristic tool… it is refreshing to read a book on religious poetry that treats linguistic and stylistic phenomena and their religio-theological implications… the author demonstrates originality and mastery of an impressive amount of relevant scholarship.’ Sixteenth Century Journal ’With a focus that draws on linguistics and theology, Clutterbuck provides a thoughtful, clearly argued discussion which raises useful questions regarding some key themes in this diverse group of texts.’ Medium Aevum
Contents: Acknowledgements; List of illustrations; List of abbreviations; Introduction; Speaking across the Gap: The Language of Encounter with the Divine; Redemption and Response in the Anonymous Middle Ages; Finding the Balance in the c-revision of Piers Plowman: Faith-Grace-Mercy versus Hope-Works-Justice; Donne's Seeker and the Anguish of Desire; Alienation from God in Paradise Lost; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.