Magdalen College: From the Summit

Mary Mumbach: “The Poetic Imagination”

February 5, 2020

Can literature (poetry) enable us to return to reality and to the self-evident? In this dialogue, Mary Mumbach, a senior member of the college's faculty, considers the nature of the poetic imagination and how the movements and gestures of the soul manifest themselves in the great literary genres and forms.  Woven within this consideration are Aristotle's Poetics, Melville's Moby Dick, Jacques Maritain's Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry, Fr. William Lynch's Images of Imaginationand the work of Francis Fergusson.  She also takes up the four genres--lyric, tragedy, comedy, and epic--briefly considering each as different movements of the soul "writ large in the poem" and how this theory of genre can lead us back into the poetic works with greater insight.  

Links of potential interest:

Mumbach's "The courage of reason and the scandal of education" in Gained Horizons: Regensburg and the Enlargement of Reason

Additional interviews with Mary Mumbach and other members of Magdalen's faculty

Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts

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