An exploration of the existence and utility of a Quaker Literary Aesthetic in the poetry of Philip Gross and Sibyl Ruth

Doering, Jonathan Watson (2021). An exploration of the existence and utility of a Quaker Literary Aesthetic in the poetry of Philip Gross and Sibyl Ruth. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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Quakers have had an ambivalent historical relationship with creativity, initially placing taboos around its creation and reception but they now actively make and enjoy literature. This thesis explores what might constitute a Liberal Quaker Literary Aesthetic (QLA), and tests a theoretical model through an analysis of the poetry of British Quaker poets Philip Gross and Sybil Ruth. The QLA, it is suggested, consists of seven key features: openness, ambiguity and seeking; dialogical engagement; ethical rather than moral writing; creative attention; Quaker sensibility; an apophatic approach to the Divine; silence as presence and force. I argue that this QLA, whilst partially displayed by other writers of faith or none, is fully demonstrated by these writers, as a development in this context of particular values and the silent, apophatic approach found amongst British Liberal Quakers, brought over into literary writing. I demonstrate that this QLA is a distinctive expression of Liberal Quakerism. I discuss its utility, also suggesting future avenues of research in comparison with other branches of Quakerism and other faith traditions and none.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Britain Yearly Meeting (Quakers) Adult Grants Group, Barnsley Friends Adult School Trust Fund
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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