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Designing the Life of Johnson (review)

Designing the Life of Johnson (review) 06-reviews 6/4/03 11:05 AM Page 319 Reviews 319 Jesus doesn’t believe in God, and the Jesus of other poets—R. A. K. Mason, Per Kirkeby—is equally forlorn of any self-regard. Yet there are also poets— James McAuley, Mark Jarman, Tadeusz Rózewicz, and Jorge Luis Borges— interested in a more enigmatic, indeterminate Jesus, answering, in Rosen- thal’s view, to a postmodern concern with deferred and indeterminate meanings. But these poets do not return us to an earlier confidence in Christ’s divine significance. In her seventh chapter Rosenthal returns to Rilke to delineate what she terms a poetry of Jesus’s absence, which is differently han- dled in poets like Czeslaw Milosz and R. S. Thomas. This is not necessarily a poetry of atheistic despair, but includes the dark way that leads through an almost unbearable silence, the endurance of the long, possibly endless wait: “The meaning is the waiting” (R. S. Thomas, “Kneeling”). There is also a poetry in which it is not Christ, but his devotees who are absent, and this is the concern of Rosenthal’s eighth chapter. In her ninth and last chapter, she considers those poets for whom Christ is fulsomely present in life’s materi- ality, in a poetry http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

Designing the Life of Johnson (review)

Biography , Volume 26 (2) – Jul 8, 2003

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

06-reviews 6/4/03 11:05 AM Page 319 Reviews 319 Jesus doesn’t believe in God, and the Jesus of other poets—R. A. K. Mason, Per Kirkeby—is equally forlorn of any self-regard. Yet there are also poets— James McAuley, Mark Jarman, Tadeusz Rózewicz, and Jorge Luis Borges— interested in a more enigmatic, indeterminate Jesus, answering, in Rosen- thal’s view, to a postmodern concern with deferred and indeterminate meanings. But these poets do not return us to an earlier confidence in Christ’s divine significance. In her seventh chapter Rosenthal returns to Rilke to delineate what she terms a poetry of Jesus’s absence, which is differently han- dled in poets like Czeslaw Milosz and R. S. Thomas. This is not necessarily a poetry of atheistic despair, but includes the dark way that leads through an almost unbearable silence, the endurance of the long, possibly endless wait: “The meaning is the waiting” (R. S. Thomas, “Kneeling”). There is also a poetry in which it is not Christ, but his devotees who are absent, and this is the concern of Rosenthal’s eighth chapter. In her ninth and last chapter, she considers those poets for whom Christ is fulsomely present in life’s materi- ality, in a poetry

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jul 8, 2003

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