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Church Chapel and the Unitarian Conspiracy

Donald Davie

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Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • 'A gathered church.'
                    That posy, the elect,
            Was gathered in, not into, garden-walls;
            For God must out of sheer caprice resect
            The jugular stalks of those He culls and calls.

            Watts thought his church, though scant of privilege,
            Walled in its own communion. In its walks
            Some may have doubted if so sparse a hedge
            Tempered the blast to blooms still on their stalks.

    from 'Dissentient Voice: A Gathered Church'

    Donald Davie has insisted -- even as he was writing about Modernism and Ezra Pound -- on an area of English literature, history and spirituality misread and misvalued in a secular age when the churches are themselves at pains to dilute or deny the conflicts, sermons, hymns and tracts which defined and energised their chapel lives. Davie neither dilutes nor denies: he reappraises with scholarly, searching love the elements from which his culture and imagination are shaped.
    He edited the Oxford Book of Christian Verse and the Penguin Book of Psalms. This volume brings together his 1976 Clark Lectures (Cambridge), the 1980 Ward-Phillips Lectures (Notre Dame) and related material, illuminating the political and spiritual heritage of distinctively English Protestant traditions.
    This volume completes Carcanet's programme of collecting the prose writings of Donald Davie.
    Born in Barnsley in 1922, Donald Davie served in the Navy and studied at Cambridge, becoming Professor of English at Essex, and later at Stanford and Vanderbilt. In 1988 he returned to England where he died in 1995. Carcanet's uniform Collected Works of Donald Davie includes Collected Poems (1990), Under Briggflatts ... read more
    Praise for Donald Davie 'He has drawn a map of modernism, starting with Hardy and Pound, that remains one of the definitive outlines of twentieth-century experiment in form and language. The mapmaker, in this case,is a notable locus on the map.'
    Helen Vendler
    `These poems thrive on the restless energy that drives their author on from form to form and place to place. Few poets are more likely than Davie to persuade new readers that poetry can still be a matter of concern and pleasure.'
    Martin Dodsworth, The Guardian
    'In his criticism, he has drawn a map of modernism, starting with Hardy and Pound, that remains one of the definitive outlines of twentieth-century experiment in form and language.'
    Helen Vendler
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