I, who erstwhile took it upon myself to sing of The Enclosed Garden in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and went on to look through her eyes on the mystery of God, now venture to look through the same eyes on the related mystery of The Lord. Mine, I confess, is the effrontery of Dante who in the related garden of his Paradiso beheld the vision of the same Blessed Virgin on the introduction of Bernard, and who went on to glimpse a further vision of the Holy Trinity in the form of a triple rainbow. Mine is also, I further confess, the effrontery of Ignatius who in his Spiritual Exercises begins with his human sinful self before turning to the kingdom of God as the point of departure for his series of meditations on the Gospels, on the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. What effrontery! you may say. What bare-faced impudence! What boldness in daring to follow the example of so great a poet as Dante, so great a saint as Ignatius! But, I answer, isn t that what poets and saints are for? Aren t they set up for us to imitate, to follow in their footsteps, even to emulate what they have done? After all, we say, Nothing venture, nothing have! and Faint heart never won fair lady! And in my case the fair lady is none but Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin herself, who was the kindly light guiding the footsteps of both Dante and Ignatius and, I make bold to add, Shakespeare (as may be seen abundantly in the following pages). They all received from God himself what we call the love-letter of the Bible, and now may I not join them in replying to God with this other love-letter of mine? PM
Born in London on October 12, 1925, the Year of the Ox, Peter Milward SJ attended the Jesuit school of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, and joined the Society of Jesus in 1943. After studies of the Classics and English at Oxford, he arrived in Japan in 1954, and from 1962 onwards has been teaching English—with special attention to Shakespeare—at Sophia University, Tokyo. Fr. Milward has authored some 350 books, most of them published in Japan.
Specializing in Shakespearian drama, he published his first book, an Introduction to Shakespeare's Plays, 1964, followed by Christian Themes in English Literature, 1967. After further research at the Shakespeare Institute, Birmingham, 1965-66, he published Shakespeare's Religious Background, 1973; and as a result of subsequent research at the Huntington Library, California, he went on to publish two volumes of Religious Controversies of the Elizabethan Age and the Jacobean Age in 1977 and 1978.
Besides being vice-chairman of the Renaissance Institute of Sophia University, he is editor of"Renaissance Monographs" and of the Japanese Renaissance Sosho; and with the opening of the Renaissance Centre in the new library of Sophia University in 1984, he was appointed its first director. He has also published books on G.M. Hopkins (He is a prominent member of the Tokyo Branch of the Hopkins Society of Japan.) and T.S. Eliot, as well as many volumes of essays for Japanese students. His academic books on Shakespeare and Hopkins have attracted readers in England and America.
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Kaufmann Publishing (August 15, 2012)