David Jones: A Christian Modernist?


David Jones: A Christian Modernist? is a major reassessment of the work of the poet, artist and essayist David Jones (1895-1974) in light of the complex, ambiguous idea of a ‘Christian modernism’. His richly experimental and palimpsestic poetry, art and thought drew extensively on Christian tradition and symbolism as a key to the future: rejecting a technocratic and utilitarian modernity in favour of a revitalised culture of sign and sacrament. This volume examines historical influences on Jones’s development, his impassioned engagement with the idea of modernity and with modernist literature and art, the theological sources and resonances of his work, and contemporary or late-modern perspectives on his achievement.

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Jamie Callison, Ph.D. (2016), University of Northampton, UK & University of Bergen, Norway), works on modernism, religious culture, and poetry in performance. He has published widely on these topics in journals such as Modernist Cultures, Literature and Theology, and ELH.

Paul S. Fiddes, D.Phil (1965), D.D. (2004), both doctorates from the University of Oxford where he is Professor of Systematic Theology. He has published extensively on the relation between literature and theology, and his most recent book is Seeing the World and Knowing God (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Anna Johnson, D.Phil. (2012), University of Oxford, is Senior Development Manager at the University of Exeter. Her PhD focused on the visual and literary work of David Jones, and she has published articles on this topic (including “David Jones and the Anglo-Saxon Culture Tangle” in Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination, Boydell and Brewer, 2010).

Erik Tonning, D.Phil (2006), University of Oxford, is Professor of British Literature and Culture at the University of Bergen. He has published on Jones in Modernism and Christianity (Palgrave, 2014) and in the edited volume Broadcasting in the Modernist Era (Bloomsbury, 2014).

Contributors are: Thomas Berenato, Sarah Coogan, Thomas Dilworth, Paul S. Fiddes, Thomas Goldpaugh, Daniel Gustafsson, Rosie Lavan, Alison Milbank, Micheal O'Siadhail, Martin Potter, John David Ramsey, Paul Robichaud, Matthew Sperling, Kathleen Henderson Staudt, Anna Svendsen, Simon Trub, Tom Villis, Jean Ward
"(...) David Jones: A Christian Modernist? not only accepts a variety of points of view, but also willingly asks difficult and even unanswerable questions to approach the ambiguities of Jones’s spirit. As a result, the collection is one of the most nuanced and thorough studies of Jones’s art, poetry, and theory to date."
- Alex Assaly, University of Cambridge, Reading Religion, January 2019.
List of Contributors


David Jones: Christian Traveller on the Paths of Modernity

Paul S. Fiddes

PART 1. Christian Modernism

“A Heap of All That I Could Find”: David Jones’ Fragmented Sacrament

Tom Goldpaugh

David Jones’ Catholic Engagement with Modernism and the Development of Tradition

Martin Potter

Christian and “Modernist” Typology in The Anathemata

Simon D. Trub

“Make It New”: Defamiliarization and Sacramentality in David Jones

Alison Milbank

PART 2. The Break, War and Politics

History as Grail Quest: David Jones’ Controversial Quest for Sacrament

Sarah E. Coogan

The “World of Sense” in In Parenthesis

Rosie Lavan

David Jones and the Chelsea Group

Thomas Dilworth

Catholicism, Modernism and Fascism: The Politics of David Jones

Tom Villis

PART 3. A Sacramental Poetics

Saying More and Making Other: Poetry as Sacrament

Daniel Gustafsson

“Some Wayward Art”: David Jones and the Later Work of Geoffrey Hill

Paul Robichaud

Symbol and Sacrament in David Jones’ Eclogue IV

Fr. John David Ramsey

In Parenthesis, the Eucharist and the Mythical Method

Jean Ward

Unfolding the “Implied Theology” of In Parenthesis in Several Biblical and Liturgical Allusions to the Passion of Christ

Anna Svendsen

David Jones and the Influence of Analogy

Thomas Berenato

PART 4. A Poet in Late-Modernity

The Sacramental Modernism of David Jones and the World as Text

Paul S. Fiddes

The Tribune’s Visitation and Fulcrum Press: The Publishing Contexts of Late-Modernist Poetry

Matthew Sperling

David Jones: A Poet’s Perspective

Micheal O’Siadhail

David Jones: Christian Artist at the Dawn of a Post-Christian Era

Kathleen Henderson Staudt

Anyone interested in literary modernism, modernist poetry, the intersections of modernism and Christianity, the life, art, literature and cultural impact of David Jones.
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