This volume is a collection of essays that explains how literature, philosophy and theology have explored the role of wonder in our lives, particularly through poetry. Wonder has been an object of fascination for these disciplines from the Greek antiquity onwards, yet the connections between their views on the subject are often ignored in subject specific studies.
The book is divided into three parts: Part I opens the conversation on wonder in philosophy, Part II is given to theology and Part III to literary perspectives. An international set of contributors, including poets as well as scholars, have produced a study that looks beyond traditional chronological, geographical and disciplinary boundaries, both within the individual essays themselves and in respect to one another. The volume’s wide historical framework is punctuated by four poems by contemporary poets on the theme of wonder.
An unconventional foray into one of the best-known themes of the European tradition, this book will be of great interest to scholars of literature, theology and philosophy.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why Wonder?
Francesca Bugliani Knox
Part I: Philosophical Perspectives
‘In the Valley of the Lot’
1 The Wonder of Not Wondering: from Plato to Lucretius
2 Wonder and the Philosopher’s Perfection: Giordano Bruno
3 Wonder, Epiphany, Haecceity in Gerard Manley Hopkins
4 Wonder in Ethics and Aesthetics: Wittgenstein and Rabindranath Tagore
5 A Mysticism of a Dead Leaf: A Brief Apology for an Ordinary Phenomenon
Part II: Theological Perspectives
6 The Extraordinary of the Ordinary: G.K. Chesterton, Imagination and the Wonder of a Natural Theology
Brett H. Speakman
7 Between Rapture and Rupture: An Exploration of Wonder
Bernard Sawicki OSB
8 Between the Poet and the Legislator: On Wonder and Ambivalence in Midrash and Hebrew Poetry
9 Scandalous Wonder: Contemplating the Cross with Isaac Watts
10 This World of Wonders: Theology, Poetics and Everyday Life
Part III: Literary Perspectives
11 Wonder and the Power of the Word
12 Wonder and the Radical Vision of Francis of Assisi
Jon M. Sweeney
13 Rilke’s Poetics of Wonder: Looking at the Picture-Books of Beauty in the Duino Elegies
Emilia Di Rocco
14 Poetry, Radicalism and Wonder: Peter Levi, Priesthood, and David Jones
15 ‘The flowers remember / the sugar bowl remembers’: Quotidian Wonder and the Painter/Poet Joanna Margaret Paul
‘A Space for God’
Elena Buia Rutt
16 ‘Learn from wonder, nurture astonishment’: Notes on Bergoglio’s Aesthetics
Antonio Spadaro SJ and Francesca Bugliani Knox
Francesca Bugliani Knox is Honorary Senior Research Associate at UCL and Research Fellow at Roehampton University, both in the UK. Her publications include translations into Italian as well as several books and articles on various aspects of English and Italian literature from the Renaissance to the present, including The Eye of the Eagle: John Donne and the Legacy of Ignatius Loyola (2011). She is the editor, with David Lonsdale, of Poetry and the Religious Imagination (2015) and, with John Took, of Poetry and Prayer (2016). She is also the editor of Ronald Knox. A Man for All Seasons (2017).
Jennifer Reek has a PhD from the Centre for Literature, Theology and the Arts, University of Glasgow, UK. Her work has appeared in journals such as Literature and Theology and Contemporary Women’s Writing. She is the author of A Poetics of Church: Reading and Writing Sacred Spaces of Poetic Dwelling (2017). Currently, she teaches seminars in Great Books in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut, USA.