As we move from one year to another I wish all followers and occasional readers a happy New Year, secure from the worst that might assail us. I wish to thank you also for your support, as readers from around the world from a variety of cultures. I am delighted you have found in this blog something to interest and refresh you and I am encouraged by that support to keep on plying you with posts on a variety of topics to do with literature , religion and culture and how they have worked together.
I thought a short review of what I am seeking to do with this blog might be helpful. Although I have no set programme I do have a sense of thematic development in which there will be some kind of unified considerations of themes and preoccupations that I have developed over a lifetime of reading. (I happen to be reading Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. just now. My wife asked me if I had read it before. “Yes about sixty years ago”, I had to reply” -so you will see what I mean by “lifetime”!).
However much it may look like it from time to time, my blogging is not a sort of desultory wandering, like a butterfly lighting on one flower and then another. At the same time I do not seek to make it too organised. Suddenly, for instance, with Christmas coming I dropped Coleridge’s Rime for the time being and took on Christmas carols. This took me to folk music and folk culture and its development, a completely unexpected turn. Yet it is in line, with my interest in culture as an organic growth within a particular society and the degree to which the full range of its cultural expression hangs together.
At the heart of earlier blogs was an interest in Romanticism as a word, a concept and a manifestation and what it means, how it changed things, and what it means for us, living today. In the early days a starting point was Wuthering Heights and its relation to the Romantic novel. Then on to pre-Romanticism, Jane Austen and the picturesque. The direction was towards Romanticism as a movement, expressing the creative human spirit. It was a surprise development however-and I mean a surprise for me as this was not planned- that Coleridge, suddenly, became so central His quotation linking poetic creativity with the kind of creativity manifested by the Creator God as pictured by Genesis 1 inspired me to consider many connections between Bible stories, and great poetry. How do we read the story of God encouraging Adam to name the animals? How have great poets used their imaginations to conceive of God? The focus on the myths of Genesis widened to include Plato’s cave. The series bringing together the Tower of Babel myth, Plato’s Cave and Coleridge’s Rime was an example of this. All this is not meant as a curious byway of study. As the two posts bringing the Tower of Babel and Plato’s cave up-to date all my posts are directed in some way to thinking about where we stand now in our present world.
Large statements of the present day world are not, however, my intention. My feeling and hope is there is a place for the kind of explorations I am engaged in: seeking to bring together religious faith, poetic creativity, cultural expression- what is most living from the past- as a a way of recharging our thinking as to what we can bring our confused world from what we have inherited.