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Theory and Theology in George Herbert’s Poetry`Divinitie, and Poesie, Met'$
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Elizabeth Clarke

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198263982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198263982.001.0001

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The Sanctification of Poetry

The Sanctification of Poetry

(p.224) 5 The Sanctification of Poetry
Theory and Theology in George Herbert’s Poetry

Elizabeth Clarke

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces some of Herbert’s strategies in his attempt to represent the mortification of his poetry, and some of the problems he encountered. It discusses how Herbert took extraordinary care in poetic composition. He worked ‘as if’ he were the efficient cause of the writing: ‘as if’ the normal processes of persuasive rhetoric will function and the reader be helped towards a relationship with God. He could do no other: that is the only way to write poetry. He worked hard to develop a poetry of submission and love, against all precedent: yet he disowned the achievement, attributing anything positive to God Himself.

Keywords:   George Herbert, mortified poetry, Juan de Valdés, poetic composition

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