On Spirituality and Transcendence

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    This chapter focuses on Paterson's treatment of organised religion, spirituality, and death, and considers how they alter through his career. Raising issues of belief, it examines how the poetry draws on autobiography, especially Paterson's own early loss of faith, and explores a number of alternatives to Christian theology and Western philosophy, including tenets of Buddhist thought and practice, and anti-humanist work, such as John Gray's Straw Dogs. The chapter also considers the influence of classical order, organisation, and harmony on Paterson's sense of the mutability of scholarly and aesthetic achievements, and the random vicissitudes of a godless world, especially his poetic deployments of literary, archival and historical error. It argues that Paterson's agnostic worldview allows him to gather seemingly contradictory facets of spiritual and philosophical traditions without judgement or an insistent urge for unification.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDon Paterson
    Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Critical Essays
    EditorsNatalie Pollard
    Place of PublicationEdinburgh
    PublisherEdinburgh University Press
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)9780748669424
    ISBN (Print)9780748669417
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Don Paterson
    • British poetry
    • British poets
    • organised religion
    • death
    • John Gray
    • classical order
    • godless world

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Arts and Humanities


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