Approaching the Unapproached Light: Milton and the Romantic Visionary

Jonathan Shears

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The relationship between literature and religion is one of the most groundbreaking and challenging areas of Romantic studies. Covering the entire field of Romanticism from its eighteenth-century origins in the writing of William Cowper and its proleptic stirrings in Paradise Lost to late-twentieth-century manifestations in the work of Wallace Stevens, the essays in this timely volume explore subjects such as Romantic attitudes towards creativity and its relation to suffering and religious apprehension; the allure of the 'veiled' and the figure of the monk in Gothic and Romantic writing; Miltonic light and inspiration in the work of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats; the relationship between Southey's and Coleridge's anti-Catholicism and definitions of religious faith in the Romantic period; the stammering of Romantic attempts to figure the ineffable; the emergence of a feminised Christianity and a gendered sublime; the development of Calvinism and its role in contemporary religious controversies. Its primary focus is the canonical Romantic poets, with a particular emphasis on Byron, whose work is most in need of critical re-evaluation given its engagement with the Christian and Islamic worlds and its critique of totalising religious and secular readings. The collection is an original and much-needed intervention in Romantic studies, bringing together the contextual awareness of recent historicist scholarship with the newly awakened interest in matters of form and an appreciation of the challenges of postmodern theory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRomanticism and Religion from William Cowper to Wallace Stevens
EditorsG. Hopps, J. Stabler
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)0-7546-5570-9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


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