Lecture: Towards a Sacramental Poetics

And for those who simply can’t get their fill of open lecture on Friday:

Regina Schwartz

Professor of English
Northwestern University

Towards a Sacramental Poetics

Friday, September 26
12 noon,
English Faculty Lounge
Bryan Hall

When the dust settled after the Reformers had redefined the Eucharist,
understandings of the material and immaterial, the visible and invisible,
immanence and transcendence were revised. Debates about the Eucharist
during the Reformation became the occasion for the worldview we regard as
“modern” to begin to be articulated, and this fledgling modernism swept into
its purview a vast array of concerns and disciplines: theology, metaphysics,
aesthetics, and politics were re-imagined. In short, the Eucharist was a
lightening rod, a focus where tremendous energy gathered, or better, a
lightening bolt–for it jolted sensibilities into a new world order. In the
course of questioning the Eucharist, justice and sacrifice, images and
language, community and love, cosmos and creation, were all implicated.
Sacramentality at the Dawn of Secularism: When God Left the World is a study of sacramentality and its infusion in the secular world. And while the theology of the Eucharist has dictated its subjects — the questions of justice, signification, love, and the material world — the book makes no claim that these in any way exhaust the enormous theological implications of the ritual. Instead, it shows how these questions, so urgent for theology, become the domain of secular culture — as the ethical, the symbolic, the erotic, and the material.

Regina Schwartz is the author of The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism (Chicago UP). She has authored a book on John Milton’s theodicy and poetics, Remembering and Repeating (Cambridge UP, rpt Chicago UP, winner of the Milton Society of America’s James Holly Hanford’s Book Award) and has edited, with Valeria Finucci, Desire in the Renaissance (Princeton UP). She has edited the collection The Book and the Text, The Bible and Literary Theory (Blackwell) and co-edited The Postmodern Bible (Yale UP). Most recently, she has edited a volume, Transcendence: Philosophy, Literature and Theology Approach the Beyond (Routledge). Her new book, Sacramentality at the Dawn of Secularism: When God Left the World (Stanford UP, 2008) explores the ways the sacramental vision infuses the poetry, drama, and the wider culture of the early modern period.

Sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of English,
and the Special Lectures Committee.


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September 2008
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