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Eighteenth-Century Women's Writing and the Methodist Media Revolution'Consider the Lord as Ever Present Reader'$
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Andrew O. Winckles

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620184

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620184.001.0001

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Agnes Bulmer, Felicia Hemans, and Poetry as Theology

Agnes Bulmer, Felicia Hemans, and Poetry as Theology

(p.211) Chapter Seven Agnes Bulmer, Felicia Hemans, and Poetry as Theology
Eighteenth-Century Women's Writing and the Methodist Media Revolution

Andrew O. Winckles

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines how women used theological poetry to enter into public space during the 1820’s and 30’s through its consideration of the works of Agnes Bulmer and Felicia Hemans. In particular, the chapter focuses on changing definitions of Christian womanhood in Methodism and how Bulmer negotiated them as a poet, scholar, wife, and faithful Methodist. It then turns to Bulmer’s epic poem, Messiah’s Kingdom, to explore how she develops her epic theology—accessing a tradition of women acting as prophets and priests to forward a unique systematic theology that places sense experience, of both the natural and spiritual worlds, at the center of evangelical hermeneutics. Finally, the chapter turn to Hemans’ religious poetry, and particularly the Songs and Hymns of Life, to witness how Hemans at the end of her life uses poetry to advocate for a public religious role for women. In essence she “takes a text” in the Methodist sense and licenses poetic preaching in a world that was rapidly revolving away from these types of roles for women.

Keywords:   Agnes Bulmer, Felicia Hemans, Epic poetry, Religious poetry, Theology

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