This article reads the Proslogion of the medieval theologian Anselm of Canterbury as a drama of seeking and finding God. It guides the reader through a process of rhetorical inventio, with all of its attendant risks, pleasures, and discontents. The text opens a space or gap of desire, speaking in the voice of the soul who seeks anxiously to find (invenire) God but turns up only absence. The “I” who speaks and addresses itself to itself and to God learns not to close that gap but to inhabit it, affectively and intellectually, just as the monastic rhetor must, when he directs his inventive activity to God.
Prayer and the Art of Literature in Anselm of Canterbury’s Proslogion
Robert Glenn Davis is Associate Professor of Theology and Medieval Studies at Fordham University. He is the author of The Weight of Love: Affect, Ecstasy, and Union in the Theology of Bonaventure, published by Fordham University Press in 2017.
Robert Glenn Davis; Prayer and the Art of Literature in Anselm of Canterbury’s Proslogion. Representations 1 February 2021; 153 (1): 68–84. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2021.153.5.68
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