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Saturday’s Silence

R. S. Thomas and Paschal Reading

Author(s): Richard McLauchlan

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Writing Wales in English

November 2016240 pages216x138mm

Hardback - 9781783169207 eBook - epub - 9781783169221 eBook - mobi - 9781783169238 eBook - pdf - 9781783169214

About The Book

R. S. Thomas is recognised globally as one of the major poets of the twentieth century. Such detailed attention as has been paid to the religious dimensions of his work has, however, largely limited itself to such matters as his obsession with the ‘absent God’, his appalled fascination with the mixed cruelty and wonder of a divinely created world, his interest in the world-view of the ‘new physics’, and his increasingly heterodox stance on spiritual matters. What has been largely neglected is his central indebtedness to key features of the ‘classic’ Christian tradition. This book concentrates on one powerful and compelling example of this, reading Thomas’s great body of religious work in the light of the three days that form the centre of the Gospel narrative; the days which tell of the death, entombment and resurrection of Christ.


‘R. S. Thomas’s terse and condensed poetic voice is inflected more than some readers realise by a deep hinterland of theological and philosophical reflection. This creative new reading of his poetry locates him very specifically in what is not only a theological but a liturgical place, the intense but fertile darkness of the day between Good Friday and Easter – ‘a descent into hell’ that is also a retrieval and transformation of the experiences of loss, protest and failure. This is a subtle, careful and persuasive interpretation of one of our major modern poets.’‘Richard McLauchlan’s excellent volume illustrates how productive the relationship can be between theology and literary analysis. The author maintains throughout a close and sensitive attention to the linguistic and formal detail of R. S. Thomas’s poetry, revealing the intensity of the poet’s imagination and equally of his theological understanding.’‘This is a brave and bold book that engages deeply with the poems of R. S. Thomas to suggest that the Triduum itself – the movement from Good Friday through Easter Sunday – is the essential progress of the soul in its engagement with God, with Holy Saturday as a liminal space of great anxiety and potential. In his approach to suffering, hope, and prayer mediated through the language of Thomas, the author invites us on an intellectual and spiritual journey that is surprising in its multiple insights and affirming in the ways it leads forward into faith.’‘A landmark study of R. S. Thomas, an important and rare voice in poetry and in faith in an age of doubt.’

About the Author(s)

Richard McLauchlan

Richard McLauchlan is a freelance researcher and writer. He also runs Light Up Learning, an educational charity based in Edinburgh.

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