Dream of Gerontius

by John Henry Newman


Edward Elgar set Newman’s dramatic poem to music as an oratorio in 1900. This oratorio, in fact, became the most popular choral work in Britain after Handel’s Messiah. The poem itself tells the story of an old man and his soul’s entrance into purgatory after death. Because of its deeply theological and supernatural content, some have compared the poem to the works of Dante. Like Dante’s works, Newman’s poem does not sacrifice narrative suspense and ingenuity for depth of thought, instead retaining both. Because of its masterful portrayal of a person’s confrontation with death, “The Dream of Geronitus” transcends its Catholic roots and appeals to readers of all cultures and faiths.

Kathleen O’Bannon
CCEL Staff

About John Henry Newman

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Picture of John Henry Newman
Picture of John Henry Newman
Source: Wikipedia
Born: February 21, 1801
Died: August 11, 1890
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