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Divine CartographiesGod, History, and Poiesis in W. B. Yeats, David Jones, and T. S. Eliot$
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W. David Soud

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198777779

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777779.001.0001

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The Figure and the Map

The Figure and the Map

The Anathemata of David Jones

(p.98) 2 The Figure and the Map
Divine Cartographies

W. David Soud

Oxford University Press

David Jones’s poetry is an explicitly Roman Catholic response to modernity; The Anathemata, which Jones considered his magnum opus, is his poetic map of the relation between history and eternity. After addressing Jones’s poetic development and prevailing critical perspectives on The Anathemata, this chapter details how Jones’s sacramental theology and aesthetics, largely derived from the work of Maurice de la Taille and Jacques Maritain, determine the poetic form of The Anathemata. The poem has a binary form: a discursive superstructure characterized by temporal narratives, metaphors of excavation and accretion, and etymological and figural wordplay, and a deep spatial structure in which the Cross serves as the centre of the poem’s cosmos. This strategy effectively maps how eternity penetrates and grounds history in a way that makes history a Christian theophany. The poet serves as priest, impersonally, and the poem’s force manifests ex opere operato, sacramentally.

Keywords:   David Jones, Anathemata, sacrament, figural, Catholic, Maritain, de la Taille, late modernism, theology

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