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92—Claudel’s Cosmic Vision—Jonathan Geltner

By Thomas V. Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 02, 2020 | In The Catholic Culture Podcast

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In his Five Great Odes, the great French Catholic poet Paul Claudel (1868-1955) offers a cosmic vision in which man, in his contemplative and poetic capacity, stands as mediator between God and all creation.

Man, in the image of God and even more in the headship of Christ, names all creatures, unites them in his heart, speaks for them and offers them back to God as unified whole of which man himself is a part: “I extend my hands to left and to right/so that by me not one gap should exist in the perfect circle of your creations.”

Poet James Matthew Wilson compares Claudel’s cosmic and Catholic vision to that of Tolkien, and startlingly, to one of Tolkien’s characters: “Claudel’s Odes show him to be a new Tom Bombadil, who moves through the world without irony because he has already transcended the jaded and impoverished vision typical of the modern age and entered with joy into an experience of the universal and the eternal.”

This is an interview with Jonathan Geltner, translator of a new English edition of Claudel’s Odes.

Links

Five Great Odes https://www.angelicopress.org/five-great-odes

Episode mentioned: “Structure and Freedom” with Mark Christopher Brandt https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/episode-33-structure-and-freedom-in-music-and-in-christ-mark-christopher-brandt/

Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus.

Thomas V. Mirus is a pianist living in New York City. He is Director of Podcasts for CatholicCulture.org, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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