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A small adjective attending light, the archangelic noun : Jessica Powers: a modern metaphysical poet

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dc.contributor.advisor Horne, Felicity
dc.contributor.advisor Spencer, Brenda Prozesky, Stellamarie Bartlette 2013-10-17T11:50:09Z 2013-10-17T11:50:09Z 2013-10-17 April 2013
dc.identifier.citation Prozesky, Stellamarie Bartlette (2013) A small adjective attending light, the archangelic noun : Jessica Powers: a modern metaphysical poet, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract This thesis aims to establish Jessica Powers (1905 – 1988) as a metaphysical poet, to augment the composite definition of metaphysical poetry, and to add two emphases to Christian literary theory. A comprehensive library search on Powers reveals that no scholarly work has been written on her poetry since 2005. A meta-analysis of existing work on Powers demonstrates that the metaphysical aspect of her poetry has not yet been comprehensively examined. Though Powers wrote in a time commonly called ‘post-modern’, my contention is that it would be more accurate to describe her as a metaphysical poet in the traditional sense of that term, as used, for example, of George Herbert (1593 – 1633). I endorse the view that the central theme of all metaphysical poetry is the relation between body and soul (Tanenbaum 2002: 211). It will be seen that this relation is the central concern of Powers’ metaphysical poetry. My close reading of Powers’ work as metaphysical is according to a Christian literary theory which agrees with Hass ‘that the study of the text and textual hermeneutics in the twenty-first century will continue because of a particular resurgence of religion’ (2007: 856). It is augmented by two emphases, a scientific (based on Gallagher’s 2009 study of the neurophysiology of attention), and a philosophical (based on Fromm’s 1976 analysis of the ‘being mode’, and on Buber’s 1947 analysis of attentiveness to the present moment). My study thereby contributes to Christian literary theory. There are one hundred and eighty two poems in The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers. This thesis refers, to greater or lesser extents, to one hundred and seventy six of the poems, and comprehensive examination of their metaphysical aspect is the primary focus of the thesis. My examination of the poems demonstrates that Powers’ poetry can justly be described as metaphysical, which definition of her work serves to highlight an important and hitherto neglected aspect of her work, that she is a metaphysical poet of the finest calibre, and that renewed attention to her work is timely. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (vii, 347 leaves)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.rights University of South Africa
dc.subject Jessica Powers en
dc.subject Metaphysical poetry en
dc.subject Christian theory of reading en
dc.subject Christian criticism en
dc.subject Theological aesthetic en
dc.subject Discalced Carmelites en
dc.subject.ddc 811.64
dc.subject.lcsh Powers, Jessica -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.subject.lcsh Powers, Jessica -- Religion
dc.subject.lcsh Christian poetry, American -- History and criticism -- 20th century
dc.subject.lcsh Christian poetry
dc.subject.lcsh Mysticism in literature
dc.subject.lcsh Parapsychology -- In literature
dc.subject.lcsh Carmelite Nuns -- United States
dc.title A small adjective attending light, the archangelic noun : Jessica Powers: a modern metaphysical poet en
dc.title.alternative Jessica Powers: a modern metaphysical poet
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department English Studies en D. Litt. et Phil. (English studies)

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