Files in this item



application/pdf3270035.pdf (4MB)Restricted to U of Illinois
(no description provided)PDF


Title:'Painful Passages': Death, Ritual, and Literature in Post -Reformation England
Author(s):Steen, Abram
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Guibbory, Achsah
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, English
Abstract:This dissertation examines forms of writing that emerge in seventeenth century England as Protestants struggle to reform older Catholic traditions and discover new ways of representing death. Cultural and literary studies in this period have usually seen this transition as an attack on traditional modes of remembering the dead and comforting the dying. I draw on recent historiography in order to counter the assumption of a single, iconoclastic Protestant approach to death and demonstrate the dynamic, often conflicting ways in which literary and nonliterary texts contribute to the ongoing reform of this crucial rite of passage. Death rituals are an important site of controversy and change in this period, and works of literature engage in the debate over their meaning as they represent practices associated with visitation of the dying, grieving, will-making, and burial. Looking at lyric poetry by John Donne, religious allegory by John Bunyan, and ars moriendi literature by a range of Protestant writers, I analyze how elements of "ritual form" are adapted in texts seeking to both stabilize and "reform" cultural representations of death. My argument also engages with recent work on modern, privatized forms of mourning and memory and responds critically to the claim that Protestantism created or enabled these secularized responses to death. I emphasize, instead, the sense of ceremonial obligation that informs post-Reformation literature as writers continue to represent death as a sacred, communal occasion in which religious affiliations are reaffirmed.
Issue Date:2007
Description:189 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3270035
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2007

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics