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The Rhetoric of the Conscience in Donne, Herbert, and Vaughan (Hardback)
  • The Rhetoric of the Conscience in Donne, Herbert, and Vaughan (Hardback)
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The Rhetoric of the Conscience in Donne, Herbert, and Vaughan (Hardback)

(author)
£91.00
Hardback 290 Pages / Published: 11/09/2008
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There is a kind of conscience some men keepe, Is like a Member that's benumb'd with sleepe; Which, as it gathers Blood, and wakes agen, It shoots, and pricks, and feeles as bigg as ten Donne, Herbert, and Vaughan see the conscience as only partly theirs, only partly under their control. Of course, as theologians said, it ought to be a simple syllogism, comparing actions to God's law, and giving judgement, in a joint procedure of the soul and its maker. Inevitably, though, there are problems. Hearts refuse to confess, or forget the rules, or jumble them up, or refuse to come to the point when delivering a verdict. The three poets are beady-eyed experts on failure. After all, where subjects can only discover their authentic nature in relation to the divine it matters whether the conversation works. Remarkably, each poet - despite their very different devotional backgrounds - uses similar sets of tropes to investigate problems: enigma, aposiopesis (breaking off), chiasmus, subjectio (asking then answering a question), and antanaclasis (repetition with a difference). Structured like a language, the conscience is tortured, rewritten, read, and broken up to engineer a proper response. Considering the faculty as an uncomfortable extrusion of the divine into the everyday, the rhetoric of the conscience transforms Protestant into prosthetic poetics. It moves between early modern theology, rhetoric, and aesthetic theory to give original, scholarly, and committed readings of the great metaphysical poets. Topics covered include boredom, torture, graffiti, tattoos, anthologizing, resentment, tears, dust, casuistry, and opportunism.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199547845
Number of pages: 290
Weight: 531 g
Dimensions: 223 x 144 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
lively energy ... wit ,,, conceptual daring ... entertaining and intelligent piece of scholarship * Modern Philology *
intelligent and entertaining... witty... keen sense for when the pursuit of piety veers into sardonic comedy * Review of English Studies *
extremely interesting, if stomach-churning... excellent close readings... subtle... interesting... valuable and welcome * MLR *
Sullivan's study is thought-provoking, and perhaps especially valuable in terms of her proposed methodology of reading early modern poetry, which is applicable to so many more texts than were fitted into her compact argument. * Sebastiaan Verwejj, Notes and Queries *
rich and stimulating, dense but readable... innovative, sustained, and illuminating rhetorical analyses [of] a vital subject in our intellectual history * Rhetorica *
brilliant insights through unusual juxtaposition and deft assimilation * Seventeenth Century Journal *
expands our knowledge of theological and tropological connections in early modern devotional texts... surprising and valuable * Year's Work in English Studies *
insightful... sharp... probing * George Herbert Journal *

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