Bearing Witness: Christian Poetry in the 20th Century

Speaker(s): Alan Jacobs
Date: July 3-14, 2006
Length: 17:11:58
Product ID: RGDL3626S

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In the strict sense, of course,We invent nothing, merely bearing witness
To what each morning brings again to light.
- Richard Wilbur

All of us who come from [my corner of Europe] appraise poetry slightly
differently from the majority of my audience, for we tend to view it as a
witness and participant in one of mankind's major transformations. I have
titled this book The Witness of Poetry not because we witness it, but
because it witnesses us.
- Czeslaw Milosz

What can the poet say - what value does poetry have - in the most terrible of all the centuries of humanity? In the midst of the worst (and sometimes the best) that human beings can do, the poet is there simply to bear witness: to history, to Creation, even to a seemingly hidden God. It is this witnessing, as performed by several major poets, that we will explore in this course; and in our writing we will consider the adequacy of their responses. Lectures include:

  • Introduction to Course
  • Eliot I
  • Eliot II
  • Eliot III
  • Introduction to Auden
  • Eliot IV
  • Eliot V
  • Auden I
  • Auden II
  • Auden III
  • Auden IV
  • Miloz I
  • Miloz II


See All Audio by Alan Jacobs

Alan Jacobs is Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor University. Jacobs is the author of a number of books, including A Theology of Reading: The Hermeneutics of Love, A Visit to Vanity Fair and Other Moral Essays, The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis, and "The Book of Common Prayer": A Biography.

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