Elizabeth Jennings and the Sacramental Nature of Poetry

Anna Walczuk

Jagiellonian University Press

Elizabeth Jennings and the  Sacramental  Nature  of  Poetry

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Pub Date: June 2018

ISBN: 9788323343431

258 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $50.00£40.00

Elizabeth Jennings and the Sacramental Nature of Poetry

Anna Walczuk

Jagiellonian University Press

This book is an extensive monographic study of Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001), one of the most remarkable poetic voices in England in the second half of the twentieth century. Briefly linked with the poets of "The Movement" in the 1950s, Jennings soon gained her poetic independence and high esteem on the English literary scene. Primarily a prolific lyricist and religious poet, she also published critical prose bespeaking her fascination with the potential of poetry and its capacity to reach out toward transcendence. The monograph takes into consideration a substantial body of Jennings’s poems in the attempt to relate them to the poet’s Christian beliefs and her profound spiritual experience. It shows how in Jennings’s life and creative output the credo of her faith is interwoven with the ars poetica of her craft. The analysis calls attention to Jennings’s emphasis on the intrinsic link between poetry and mysticism and her deep-seated conviction of the unique power of poetic language. The book discusses religious inspiration in Jennings’s poems and explores her perception of the words of poetry as inextricably linked with the divine word and viewed in the perspective of the Roman Catholic notion of sacrament. Sacramental awareness is not only seen as a conspicuous property of Elizabeth Jennings’s religious profile and an attribute of her thinking, but it is also adopted as the principal and indispensable frame of reference for the analytical and critical discourse presented in the book.
I greatly value Anna Walczuk’s book on Elizabeth Jennings, one of the most interesting, but in Poland rather little known, English poets of the previous century. It is an important and pioneering monograph. Based on ample evidence, the book offers many insights and is highly informative about Jennings’s poetry and prose. At the same time it proposes new and interesting ways of looking upon and writing about Jennings’s creative output. Teresa Bela

About the Author

Anna Walczuk teaches English literature in the Institute of English Philology of the Jagiellonian University, Kraków. She published a book on irony in Muriel Spark’s novels and is the author of numerous articles on the literary art and thought of G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, Muriel Spark, T. S. Eliot, and Elizabeth Jennings.

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