Beyond the Threshold – Autobiography, Dialogic Interaction, and Conversion in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s and W. Abdullah Quilliam’s Poetry
Keywords:Autobiographic Poetry, Conversion, Gerard Manley Hopkins, W. Abdullah Quilliam
The intertwinement of poetic life writing and theological reflections has a long-standing history in British literature. This paper shows how two Victorian poets – Gerard Manley Hopkins and W. Abdullah Quilliam – use dialogic strategies to establish an autobiographic voice, which becomes an essential poetic means of the text. Through the representation of dialogic encounters, the poems establish an autobiographic mode of speaking, which is used to articulate individual conversion experiences and to negotiate conversion as an encounter with God. Based on the works of Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas, I will show how a dynamic understanding of text and conversion experience is essential to a reading that seeks to explore the poetic construction of Hopkins’s as well as Quilliam’s works. The representation of the dynamic encounter of the self and the Divine in the contact zone of the text provides a frame in which the authors locate themselves with regard to the religious majority of Victorian Britain. The texts link the spiritual journey of conversion to the self as being caught in the world, responding to God’s call as an answer to the world’s condition.
Copyright (c) 2021 Martin Kindermann
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