Pursuing God – Poetic Pilgrimage And The Welsh Christian Aesthetic

Nathan’s PhD project

This thesis aims to identify a distinct Welsh Christian Aesthetic within Welsh poetics between 1730 and the present day.

It is not a comprehensive survey of Welsh poetics. Rather, this work focuses on particular trends within a large corpus of religious verse and documents how changing theologies and/or beliefs actually influence the artistic output. It identifies and examines the characteristics of the Welsh Christian Aesthetic as well as adopting a shaping metaphor of pilgrimage to explore the nuances within it.

The shaping metaphor of this study is the pilgrimage: poets are imagined as making religious pilgrimages through a particular landscape. Each chapter charts a different territory which the poets pass through.

The first territory is the Calvinistic Mysticism and the early establishment of the Aesthetic during the eighteenth and very early nineteenth centuries.

The second territory is the terrain of the nineteenth-century Nonconformist Nations, and the chapter documents the complexities and changes in the Aesthetic.

The third territory is that traversed by two Modernist poets in the twentieth century who backtrack and re-engage with an earlier religion whilst using a new idiom.

The fourth territory is a contemporary terrain which explores the pluralism which is possible within the Aesthetic by focusing on four very different poets. As these pilgrim poets travel, they produce poetry that reflects their spiritual experiences or, indeed, their lack of them.

These territories are metaphorical; however, they intersect with one another, as well as intersecting with both the theologically-charged and terrestrial landscape of Wales. Having explored the changing territories, the thesis concludes with a definition of the Welsh Christian Aesthetic.

For full text visit -> http://orca.cf.ac.uk/120973/