The content of Studdert Kennedy’s message cannot be isolated from its persuasive form, and one would expect an analysis of this to throw some light both on the more elusive aspects of the content and on the nature of the response to his published work and his public appearances. It might be suggested, however, that an excursion into literary criticism is likely to reflect individual reactions based on aesthetic criteria irrelevant to the author’s intentions in a case like this. Nevertheless, whilst these intentions need to be recognised and appropriately acknowledged, the hazard of being suspected of making claims to an inappropriately superior refinement of sensibility and taste must be accepted. The Messenger dealt with ideas whilst playing on emotions. A ‘literary’ response is therefore a necessary and integral element in an analysis of the public life of these ideas, and part of a broader judgement about their significance.
KeywordsParadise Lost Aesthetic Criterion Holy Ghost Oblique Approach Wicket Gate
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Chapter 5. Verse and Rhetoric
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