Chapter

‘Jocond his Muse was’: Celebration and Virtuosity in Herrick

John Creaser

in ‘Lords of Wine and Oile’

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604777
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729355 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604777.003.0003
‘Jocond his Muse was’: Celebration and Virtuosity in Herrick

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This chapter argues against the influential view that Hesperides is the polemical work of an extreme royalist and Laudian under duress. The collection’s contents and attitudes are seen as too heterogeneous for such partisan work; Herrick freely celebrates opponents of Laud and critics of the king. Indeed, he cultivates contradiction and disorder, and Hesperides is much superior to Noble Numbers partly because he can ignore orthodoxy and consistency. Though deepened by awareness of mortality, the poems are (in T. S. Eliot’s phrase) ‘inspired frivolity’, celebrating a festive ideal of community through play. This fosters a sense of intimacy with the reader, who is invited to share a connoisseur’s delight in mental agility, virtuoso craftsmanship, and perfection of utterance.

Keywords: inspired frivolity; virtuosity; community; festivity; disorder; connoisseurship

Chapter.  10747 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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