Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This dissertation examines the relationship between secularism and the development of Oxford Movement poetry. The members of the movement sought to restore pre-Reformation religious practices in the Anglican Church while maintaining its distinctiveness from the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions, which led to the development of unique liturgy, architecture, hymns, and poetry, among other art forms. I argue that secularism simultaneously made the movement more possible while also making it more unstable. Secularism gave the theologians and poets of the movement enough freedom to borrow from older Christian traditions, yet the movement failed to revive the Anglican Church (several members actually converted to other faith traditions altogether). I examine how the availability of choice brought about by secularism impacts and is expressed in the poetry of John Keble, Christina Rossetti, Adelaide Anne Procter, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. In both the form and the content of their poetry, each poet borrows from established Christian traditions while illustrating the possibilities and fragility of increased religious choice.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.