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.
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
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.
Table of contents
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
David Jones’ Catholic Engagement with Modernism and the Development of Tradition
Christian and “Modernist” Typology in The Anathemata
Simon D. Trub
“Make It New”: Defamiliarization and Sacramentality in David Jones
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
David Jones and the Chelsea Group
Catholicism, Modernism and Fascism: The Politics of David Jones
PART 3. A Sacramental Poetics
Saying More and Making Other: Poetry as Sacrament
“Some Wayward Art”: David Jones and the Later Work of Geoffrey Hill
Symbol and Sacrament in David Jones’ Eclogue IV
Fr. John David Ramsey
In Parenthesis, the Eucharist and the Mythical Method
Unfolding the “Implied Theology” of In Parenthesis in Several Biblical and Liturgical Allusions to the Passion of Christ
David Jones and the Influence of Analogy
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
David Jones: A Poet’s Perspective
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.