This is the first comprehensive study of the theological significance of Paul Claudel, a poet frequently cited by literary-minded theologians in Europe and theologically-minded poets (such as von Balthasar, de Lubac and Eliot). His writing combines cosmology and history, Bible and metaphysics, liturgy and the drama of human personality. His work, which continues to arouse discussion in France, was acclaimed in his lifetime as the 'summa poetica' of a new Dante. Aidan Nichols' study demonstrates how Claudel's oeuvre, which is not only poetry but theatre and prose including biblical commentaries, constitutes a rich resource for constructive doctrine, liturgical preaching, and theological reflection. As the comparable example of Geoffrey Hill, Professor of Poetry at Oxford suggests, Aidan Nichols illuminates how Claudel's synthesis of many dimensions remains an important way of practising poetry in the Christian tradition today.
Prize: Winner of the CCL Book Award 2011 Classified as 'Research Essential' by Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services A Yankee Book Peddler US Core Title for 2011 'Aidan Nichols is renowned for being a penetrating and incisive theologian. Here he employs his skills to give us access to a remarkable and wide-ranging poetic mind. A richly rewarding book.' Jeremy Begbie, Duke University, USA '… The Poet as Believer stands as a treasure-house of astute readings and a fascinating glimpse into Claudel’s poetic theology.' Journal of Religion 'In Aidan Nichols’ review of the life and works of Paul Claudel, he succeeds in capturing the depths of Claudel’s strengths and struggles as poet, playwright, diplomat, Catholic, and theologian.' Transpositions
Contents: Preface; Claudel's way; The five great odes; The treatises; The mass; The temporal cycle, from Christmas to Good Friday; The temporal cycle, from Easter to Christ the King; The sanctoral cycle; The Mother of the Lord; The Bible commented; A glimpse of the theatre; Conclusion; Select bibliography; Index.