[Review] Terry G. Sherwood, Herbert’s Prayerful Art.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher T. Hodgkins, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The specter of a Calvinist George Herbert loomed ever larger during the 1980s, and some critics clearly fear that, should such a view prevail, the poetic landscape will go grayer from the pale Genevan's breath. It is at first difficult to know whether to include Terry G. Sherwood among the fearful. On the one hand, in this clearly and carefully argued book, Sherwood assumes Herbert to be a kind of Calvinist—the kind who went beyond mere intellectual assurance of election to seek "experimental" confirmation of election in a direct, personal love relationship with God (pp. 37 ff.). On the other hand, Sherwood argues that this influence of Calvinism on Herbert "has encouraged the view that he believed in a debilitated self radically dependent on God. Yet much in Herbert's prayerful art moderates this influence. Herbert's notion of the self ... expresses his convictions that it is inseparable from its artistic powers. The dialogue with God infers importance on the human partner, whose struggle to find the right words necessarily contributes to that dialogue" (p. 5). Thus Sherwood would return us to the understanding of this divine-human love that was foundational to the older, "Anglo-Catholic" Herbert criticism of Rosemond Tuve and Louis L. Martz—love as caritas, not agape. Sherwood's- choice of terms virtually determines his understanding of Herbert's individual lyrics and entire poetic vision.

Additional Information

Modern Philology 89: 268-70.
Language: English
Date: 1991
Book review, Religion, Christianity, Poetry, Divine inspiration

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