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Title:Audiences in George Herbert's Poetry
Author(s):Johnson, Bruce Arthur
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, English
Abstract:Herbert's poetry is informed profoundly by its sense of audience. The constant tension between Herbert's vocation as a divine poet, and the many dangers, theological and psychological, that attend presuming to write divine poetry for the instruction and edification of a human audience results in poetry that is often equivocal about its right to be. Among the problems Herbert faces is how, in the poetry, to arrive at a theological stance that allows him to speak to a wide spectrum of Christians in a day of great controversy among them. But Herbert's audience is never his human readers alone. One of Herbert's most difficult challenges as a poet is to address simultaneously three audiences: the human readers, Herbert's extended congregation; the speaker himself, whom we sometimes recognize as Herbert speaking in his own voice; and God, who bends over Herbert's shoulder and, as the poetry asserts, guides the poet's hand--to some extent and only some of the time. Much of the poetry is shaped by an artificial shift of the speaker's view from one part of the audience to the next, as the speaker sometimes appears to neglect or to forget one segment of the audience only to bring the poem's full direction to that part of the audience by poem's end. These audience shifts are a primary rhetorical strategy in Herbert's didactic poetry.
Issue Date:1987
Description:245 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8721666
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1987

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