Ceri Sullivan

in The Rhetoric of the Conscience in Donne, Herbert, and Vaughan

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199547845
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191720901 | DOI:

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Barbara Lewalski exhaustively traced the biblical sources and Protestant emblem and sermon analogues in metaphysical verse, concluding that Donne, Herbert, and Vaughan were Protestant, English poets of the Word (against Louis Martz's claim that they came from a Catholic, or at least continental, heritage). She gives a picture of poets attaining the godly word after heroic efforts. If you start with the godly word, however, you can see the poets making efforts to wiggle off into rhetoric, to rephrase acts and laws in so many more comfortable words. This accounts for the surprising fact that poets from very different devotional and doctrinal backgrounds use the same tropes when dealing with a similar problem with the conscience.

Keywords: Barbara Lewalski; Louis Martz; Protestant poetics; Catholic poetics; tropes

Chapter.  4136 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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