John Henry Newman and the Art of the End

Rebekah Lamb

University of St. Andrews, Scotland

Rebekah Lamb is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Theology and the Arts at the School of Divinity in the University of St. Andrews. She specialises in Religion and Literature from the long nineteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on Victorian Roman Catholicism and theological aesthetics. She has published widely on these areas and, most recently, co-edited a special issue on St. John Henry Newman with Religion and Literature. She is a trustee of the Christian Heritage Centre (CHC) at Stonyhurst College.

John Henry Newman and the Art of the End

Newman’s writings–especially his poems and sermons–are characterised by a central and abiding eschatological expectation. This expectation is made most fully present (albeit, in a hidden or humble mode) through his dedication to what is immediately at hand, to the present moment. It is clear this attention to the present matured into a profound spirituality which, derivatively, informed his aesthetic developments. My paper will account for some of the ways Newman’s devotion to the Real Presence–and his understanding of the Eucharist in relation to Christ’s promised return– informs his eschatological aesthetics, or what could be called his ‘art of the end.’