By Hilary Fraser
This examine is a crucial contribution to the highbrow historical past of Victorian England which examines the religio-aesthetic theories of a few valuable writers of the time. Dr Fraser starts with a dialogue of the classy dimensions of Tractarian theology after which proceeds to the orthodox certainties of Hopkins' concept of inscape, Ruskin's and Arnold's moralistic feedback of literature and the visible arts, and Pater's and Wilde's religion in a faith of artwork. the writer identifies major cultural and historic stipulations which decided the interdependence of aesthetic and spiritual sensibility within the interval. She argues that yes tensions within the considered Wordsworth and Coleridge - tensions among poetry and faith, uprising and response, individualism and authority - persisted to take place themselves during the Victorian age, and as society turned more and more democratic, faith in flip turned more and more own and secular.
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Extra resources for Beauty and Belief: Aesthetics and Religion in Victorian Literature
108 Both men believed that sacred truths find their most satisfactory expression in the recondite imagery and allusive suggestiveness of art forms. They felt that poetry gives imagi native life to religion as religion transports the imagination to spiritual spheres. Poetry is the best vehicle of religious utterance because it reveals itself through a symbolical structure : it re-enacts, as it were, the processes of religious experience, of Revelation, and understanding through faith by analogy.
149 Keble was not the first nineteenth-century thinker to respond to the allusive, metaphorical and symbolic exegetical methods of the early Church. Coleridge had in The Statesman's Manual, as we have seen, discussed the Scriptures as imaginative works, and in later life he vigorously promoted the reading of the Bible as a work of literature. 15 0 It is in this tradition that Keble, in Tract Eighty-Nine, discusses the Fathers' allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament and their detection of a figurative Christian meaning throughout.
By denying sacra mental truth he felt that the Church was denying belief in divine Revelation. Since the Church was dependent upon a sacramental system representing the mystical Body of Christ, vindication of the Sacraments was a first priority, and so he set about re-educating men as to their true significance. The existence of a sacramental system is dependent upon the Incarnation of Christ. The Incarnation was 'the means as well as the token, so the entire sacrament, of the redemption of our nature',154 and as such it is a constantly recurring theme in Keble's sermons and poetry : Christ's life and His miracles are promises of the great miracles to come, namely the Sacraments.
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