Immaculately Risen: Herbert Lomas' 'The Great Church, Helsinki'

This article offers a close reading of Herbert Lomas' 1984 poem, 'The Great Church, Helsinki'. The poem, I argue, rejects nihilism by describing the Finnish Lutheran cathedral as an embodiment of resistance to the decay of Christianity. In the article I explore the philosophical under...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Literature and theology
Main Author: Gardner, Kevin J. 1952-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Oxford Univ. Press [2015]
In:Literature and theology
Year: 2015, Volume: 29, Issue: 3, Pages: 249-259
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:This article offers a close reading of Herbert Lomas' 1984 poem, 'The Great Church, Helsinki'. The poem, I argue, rejects nihilism by describing the Finnish Lutheran cathedral as an embodiment of resistance to the decay of Christianity. In the article I explore the philosophical underpinnings of the poem as a dialectic of the body-soul dichotomy, revealing that the poem privileges charitable action as of greater religious import than spiritual worship. In the course of the argument, I show Lomas' indebtedness to Swedenborg and Blake, and I set his poetic vision against the perspectives of W. H. Auden and Ted Hughes. Ultimately, the article also aims to serve as an introduction to the work of this critically underappreciated poet.
ISSN:1477-4623
Contains:Enthalten in: Literature and theology
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1093/litthe/fru040