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A neglected tradition in nineteenth-century poetry is fully explored in this first detailed study of the devotional verse associated with the Oxford or Tractarian Movement in Victorian England. The poetry reached thousands of readers for every handful who read the Tracts for the Times, and helps account for the profound effect of the movement on Victorian religious life both within and beyond the Church of England.
G. B. Tennyson provides a systematic discussion of the poetic theory of the Tractarians, with special attention to the concepts of reserve and analogy. He gives sustained attention to the poetry of John Keble, John Henry Newman, and Isaac Williams, while touching on many other writers, and concludes by noting the Tractarian elements in the poems of Christina Rossetti and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Appendices document the extraordinary popularity and influence of Keble’s Christian Year and Newman’s Lyra Apostolica.