A new liturgically centered approach to teaching literature. The first in a series offered by Andrew Thornton-Norris – Resident Poet of the Imaginative Conservative and author of A Spiritual History of English
Pontifex.University, is offering a new course entitled The Romance of the Soul – the Mystical in Verse, Spiritual Approaches to Literature. This one is for personal enrichment, and costs just $99 – a for anyone interested in understanding what makes great literature and especially those who wish to be creators of beautiful poetry and prose.
This is the introductory course to a series that are planned which will give a new exciting approach to teaching literature. The goal is to impart wonder at the beauty of the literary tradition that is derived from and points us to the words of the Poet – the Holy Spirit who speaks in the Sacred Liturgy especially through the psalms. The hope is that through this it will deepen are participation in the liturgy and help lead us to our ultimate end. Poets considered in this introductory course include Gerard Manley Hopkins, Dante, St John of the Cross, T.S. Eliot and John Burnside.
This particular course is an introduction the poetry that arises from the mystical tradition of the Church. It is presented through the prism of Andrew Thornton-Norris’s general thesis on literature, articulated in his excellent book the Spiritual History of Literature. In this slim volume, Andrew Thornton-Norris does for poetry and prose what I have been trying to do with art. He relates the actual structure of the writing and the vocabulary used to the worldview of the time. See he shows us, for example, how even if the poet or novelist is sincerely Catholic and trying to express truths that are consistent with the Faith, he is at a great disadvantage if he is seeking to express those truths with the vocabulary and poetic form that reflect a post-Enlightenment culture. He takes us through a philosophical and literary journey from Bede through to the present day.
The true purpose of literature is to instill wonder in those who read it and a desire for God. It ought to direct us therefore to the place where, in this life we have the most profound encounter with God, the Sacred Liturgy. The poetry of the mystical tradition of the Church arises from the tradition of contemplative prayer. (Read More)