The Poet as Believer: A Theological Study of Paul Claudel, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Poet as Believer

A Theological Study of Paul Claudel, 1st Edition

By Aidan Nichols, O.P.


288 pages

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pub: 2011-06-10
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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

Table of Contents

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.

About the Authors

Aidan Nichols O.P. is an English Dominican who has taught in various countries; John Paul II Memorial Lecturer in Roman Catholic Theology at the University of Oxford 2006-8; author of some 40 books on different aspects of theology (including Redeeming Beauty: Soundings in Sacral Aesthetics, Ashgate).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Theology, Imagination and the Arts

What have imagination and the arts to do with theology? For much of the modern era, the answer has been 'not much'. It is precisely this deficit that this series seeks to redress. For, whatever role they have or have not been granted in the theological disciplines, imagination and the arts are undeniably bound up with how we as human beings think, learn and communicate, engage with and respond to our physical and social environments and, in particular, our awareness and experience of that which transcends our own creatureliness. The arts are playing an increasingly significant role in the way people come to terms with the world; at the same time, artists of many disciplines are showing a willingness to engage with religious or theological themes. A spate of publications and courses in many educational institutions has already established this field as one of fast-growing concern. This series taps into a burgeoning intellectual concern on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. The peculiar inter-disciplinarity of theology, and the growing interest in imagination and the arts in many different fields of human concern, afford the opportunity for a series that has its roots sunk in varied and diverse intellectual soils, while focused around a coherent theological question: How are imagination and the arts involved in the shaping and reshaping of our humanity as part of the creative and redemptive purposes of God, and what roles do they perform in the theological enterprise? Many projects within the series have particular links to the work of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts in the University of St Andrews, and to the Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts at Duke University.

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