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Vol. 47 no. 3: Winter 2013–14

Jonathan Roberts, Blake. Wordsworth. Religion.

  • Bruce Graver
14 January 2014
14 Jan. 2014


Blake. Wordsworth. Religion. is the third title in the New Directions in Religion and Literature series, published by Continuum Books. The earlier titles, The New Atheist Novel and Do the Gods Wear Capes?, give some sense of what these new directions might be. So it was comforting to see a stodgy title like Blake. Wordsworth. Religion., even though the scant 100 pages of the book seem undersized for its subject.

In fact, Jonathan Roberts has no intention of being comprehensive. Rather, he focuses on Blake’s verse letter to Thomas Butts, “To my Friend Butts I write,” and on the Solitary’s vision of the heavenly Jerusalem in book 2 of Wordsworth’s The Excursion, and uses them to demonstrate how poetry offers “a different type of engagement with religion: one that can enrich rather than narrow understanding, include rather than exclude, and creatively interrelate—rather than destructively set at odds—different approaches to religion” (1).