Blake. Wordsworth. Religion.

By | February 1, 2011

Ok, I know it’s the 1st day of February today and Christmas seems like it was a LONG time ago already, but I’ve been wanting to blog about my Christmas reading. It’s a new book in our New Directions in Religion and Literature series that landed on my desk just before the holidays.

Although it’s a book that went to press just after my arrival on the Continuum Literary Studies list (and thus, a book that I’ve had almost no direct involvement with), I’d heard some intriguing things about Jonathan Roberts’ book Blake. Wordsworth. Religion. and I was keen to give it a closer look. In keeping with the aims of the series, the book is about the interplay of religion, spirituality and literature, in this case exploring spirituality in the work of two of the most distinctive figures of the Romantic period, William Blake and William Wordsworth. In successive chapters the book explores a different critical approach to two works (one by Blake, one by Wordsworth) depicting a profound religious experience. Starting with a straight historical-biographical account of the two poems, Jonathan Roberts goes on to consider the works from a range of perspectives from a mystical/psychedelic account through to religious and theological analyses. Most intriguing of all, is Roberts’ ‘autobiographical’ account of the kind of spiritual experience that the two poets also write about – an ‘autobiographical’ account that turns out to be not quite what it seems.

No, I’m not going to tell you more. You’ll have to buy the book. But it is a genuinely recommended read and I hope you will at least check out the free preview or the further information on the book available here.

Happy reading,
Senior Editor,
Continuum Literary Studies

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