The Poetry of Religious Sorrow in Early Modern England

The Poetry of Religious Sorrow in Early Modern England

by Gary Kuchar


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In early modern England, religious sorrow was seen as a form of spiritual dialogue between the soul and God, expressing how divine grace operates at the level of human emotion. Through close readings of both Protestant and Catholic poetry, Kuchar explains how the discourses of 'devout melancholy' helped generate some of the most engaging religious verse of the period. From Robert Southwell to John Milton, from Aemilia Lanyer to John Donne, the language of 'holy mourning' informed how poets represented the most intimate and enigmatic aspects of faith as lived experience. In turn, 'holy mourning' served as a way of registering some of the most pressing theological issues of the day. By tracing poetic representations of religious sorrow from Crashaw's devotional verse to Shakespeare's weeping kings, Kuchar expands our understanding of the interconnections between poetry, theology and emotion in post-Reformation England.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521174428
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/03/2011
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 254
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The poetry of tears and the ghost of Robert Southwell in Shakespeare's Richard II and Milton's Paradise Lost; 2. The poetry of tears and the metaphysics of Grief: Richard Crashaw's 'The Weeper'; 3. The poetry of tears and the metaphysics of grief: Andrew Marvell's 'Eyes and Tears'; 4. Sad delight: theology and Marian iconography in Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum; 5. Petrarchism and repentance in John Donne's Holy Sonnets; 6. John Donne and the poetics of belatedness: typology, trauma, and testimony in An Anatomy of the World; Conclusion.

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