Everatt, A.C. (2002) Poetry & sacrament: Being a commentary on the Kensington mass by David Jones. Masters thesis, Durham University.
"The Kensington Mass" was the last poem of the Anglo-Welsh poet - painter David Jones (1895-1974). It at first describes the faithful, correct and unthreatened celebration of the introductory rite of the mass. The poem then changes direction and tone when the celebrant kisses the altar, so as to introduce an Emperor troubled by a dream. This alerts the reader that there is a collateral text, a dream poem, where the significance of the transformation is to be found. The Emperor decides to hunt on the morrow to ease his disquiet, and the resources of hunting are exploited as an analogy of the Eucharist. The hunt takes place at dawn - the dawn of the day and the dawn of an era - and the poet wakes up to a scene of loss, unlike the happy promise celebrated by Milton in his Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity. There is a sharp break before the poem's last section, when Peter's denial of Christ reverberates through history, amplified by the treachery of Roncesvalles. This dolorous sound reveals the true and exact character of human existence. The clue to the significance of the last section of the poem and its bearing on what goes before also lies outside the text: the proposal is that it is Jones's distress, obliquely expressed, at the disintegration of the traditional Roman liturgy (a denial and a betrayal) that unifies the composition. The commentary traces what might be called the narrative line of the poem, as above. It also notes some of its influences, salient concepts, underlying shapes, the history of its characters, the sacramental theology that informed his thinking, and the modality of the gloomy assertion at the close.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Award:||Master of Letters|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||01 Aug 2012 11:40|