In 2003, I was first introduced to Denise Inge through her book, Thomas Traherne: Poetry and Prose, which had been published in 2002. As with many long-time lovers of Traherne’s Centuries of Meditations, I was thrilled to discover this scholar and teacher who clearly knew Traherne as well as anyone. Denise not only had done her doctorate on Traherne, but she was one of the people who helped to announce the new Traherne Lambeth manuscripts to the world. Of course, Denise became a powerful force in making many of the new Traherne writings available to the general public. Furthermore, she understood how those writings complemented and naturally comingled with the Traherne writings that had been available throughout the 20th century.
While visiting the Traherne Festival in Credenhill (Herefordshire, U.K.) for the first time in 2004, I heard much more about Denise from fellow Traherne enthusiasts like A.M. Allchin and Richard Birt. In 2005, I had the privilege and delight to meet Denise in person on my 2nd return to the Traherne Festival. As one of the foremost Traherne scholars in the world, she was personable, gracious and generous, and of course remarkably well-spoken on all things related to Traherne. We spoke about the hope of Traherne’s writings becoming more readily available in as many legitimate ways as possible to as many people as possible. I even had the delight of hearing her husband, John Inge, Bishop or Worcester, preach at the Hereford Cathedral that weekend.
Sadly, Denise died this last April after a year-long battle with cancer. It is a huge loss for thousands of people who were touched by Denise’s life in a plethora of ways. I have appreciated two written remembrances of her: one from her brother, Fr. Dwight Longenecker (Longenecker remembrance) and the other by her husband, John Inge (Bishop Inge remembrance).
This is the first of a 2-part tribute to Denise, but one of the key purposes of the Surprised by Traherne blog is to point people to the writings of Traherne scholars and Traherne enthusiasts like Denise. I will be quoting frequently from her books and articles.