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458 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE jarring given that his discussion of what should be titled The[First] Bookof Urizen (there are two versions of the title page) closelyfollows Jerome McGann's view that Blake incorporated the discoveries of late eighteenth-century biblical scholarship into his own parody of biblical form. Similarly,Rowland relies on Erdman's edited version of The Everlasting Gospel, but, at least in this case, he reproduces the transcription of the text from Blake's notebook in an appendix. Rowland also never discusses which BiblesBlakemay have used or what visual interpretative traditions he may have drawn upon. He makes a few references to the work of Marsha Keith Schuchard, but he never acknowledges the direct biographical connections linking Blake to Moravianism and early Methodism through his mother, preferring instead to generalize Blake as a "protestant and a non-conformist" who "harked back to a way of reading the Bible that is more characteristic of the early centuries of Christianity and of medieval scholarship" (7, 9). Blake and the Bibleprovides useful in-text reproductions of all the Job and Enoch Illustrations, but, for reasons that might rest more with YaleUniversity Press than with Rowland, the text lacks parenthetical references to its beautiful color plates, which are not arranged in the order in which they are discussed. Finally, Rowland has the tendency to classify Blake as a theologian rather than an artist. Blake's "purpose:' he writes, "was not an aesthetic act narrowly conceived. For him the text was a means to an end: to bring about the conversion of minds, heart, and lives" (1). And again: "The author of Jerusalem is no critical interpreter, but rather a theologian of a grand vision of human redemption, albeit in his idiosyncratic version of systematic theology" (3). These statements may be true, but, as Blake often wrote in his annotations to Lavater, they left me "rather uneasy" (The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, 1988,586). Wayne C. Ripley WinonaState University Saint Sinatra and Other Poems. By Angela Alaimo O'Donnell. Cincinnati: Word Press, 2011. ISBN978-1-9363-7035-1. Pp. 102.$19.00. The Garbage Eater: Poems. By Brett Foster. Evanston, IL: TriQuarterly Books, 2011. ISBN 978-0-8101-2745-6. Pp. x + 78. $16.95. These two collections by a fine pair ofprofessors of English- Angela O'Donnell of Fordham University and Brett Foster of Wheaton College-display virtuosity in style and innovation in subject matter. The titles alone warn us of surprises to come: Saint Sinatra and The Garbage Eater. Frank Sinatra is a saint? And what is a garbage eater? And why write about either one, particularly through the eyes of faith? BOOK REVIEWS 459 O'Donnell's book is dripping with saints. Some are conventionally canonizedPeter ,Thomas, Francis, Teresa-but others, including the titular Sinatra, stretch the boundaries of the word in wild and finally welcome ways. Thus we have Saint Eve and Saint Martha and Saint Lazarus from the scriptures, and Saint Emily and Saint Edna and Saint Seamus from literature, and even, from the world of music, that most sour of saints, Salieri. What, then, is a saint? Is it anyone for whom we hold affection or pity or a sense of human identification? It seems to me that these poems could not have been written without Blake having said for us that everything that lives is holy.And it perhaps takes a playful sacramentalist like Angela O'Donnell to reallybelieve it-or at least to believe it in her poems. That is why,when it comes to writing literature, Catholics have all the fun. "Croon to me, Baby, I blue-eyes smiling;' says the speaker in "Saint Sinatra:' "You, Sicilian Saint of Song, II the one girls pray to when we lie I awake, pictures of boys in our heads, II each of them holy-card pretty as you..." (13). Here, in the opening poem, we have an unabashed erotic psalm, a pop-culture Song of Solomon. And somehow, it works. Not in overwrought lasciviousness, but in adolescent innocence, we celebrate the flesh. "0 Hoboken Hero of Eros;' the speaker prays, and we pray with her (14). But O'Donnell can also work...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 458-462
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-04
Open Access
No
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