Spirituality, a Conceptual Break: The Romantic Revolt and the Rise of a New Spirituality

By Marie Mansouri and Vafa Keshavarzi.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 3, 2014 $US5.00

Before English Romanticism, the concept of spirituality in English literature seems to have had a closer relationship with institutionalized religion. Christianity, as the embodiment of revelation and truth, inspired many writers to ground their spiritual writings-- hymns, sonnets, divine poems, pilgrimages, and epics on predominantly religious contexts. By the 19th century, the chief writers of English Romanticism, apparently in a reaction to the conventional spirituality that manifested itself only through religion, created a variety of spiritual mechanisms that were either completely antithetical to institutionalized religion -- Byron and Shelley's works in which the prime attitude was that of revolt and sin -- or inclined to mysticism and internal spirituality visible in Blake’s and Wordsworth’s. This attitude, signifying a conceptual break in the traditional notion of spirituality, found its way to the literature of the later periods and can be regarded responsible for our modern understanding of the notion and its various connotations. The purpose of this paper is to trace the conceptual break in the notion of spirituality since Romanticism, and examine its enduring influence on the later literature up to the modern age.

Keywords: Spirituality, Romanticism, Revolt, Break, Religious Spirituality, Secular Spirituality, Corporeal Spirituality

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, June 2014, pp.11-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 3, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 241.383KB)).

Marie Mansouri

English Teacher, Department of Literature and Humanities, Payame Noor University, Evaz, Fars, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Vafa Keshavarzi

Iran (Islamic Republic of)