Thursday, July 5, 2012
Wall Delivers Paper at the John Donne Conference
I delivered a paper entitled "Hearing Donne: The Experience of Donne‘s Preaching at Paul‘s Cross" at the annual Conference of the John Donne Society, held in Leiden June 26th - 29th, 2012.
I discussed my understanding of the Paul's Cross sermon as a collaborative and interactive performance.
I suggested that the Paul's Cross sermon was a conversation, and that the text of these sermons represented only one side of the conversation.
I acknowledged the challenge of recovering the congregation's side of this conversation, but suggested that congregational response was sometimes scripted, as in in its participation in the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of the sermon.
Other times it can be inferred from the way the preacher structures his presentation, seeming to invite certain kinds of response.
As part of this presentation, I played five audio clips combining Ben Crystal's realization of Donne's Gunpowder Day sermon for November 5th, 1622 with hypothetical congregational responses.