2019 Theses Doctoral
The Poetry of Interpretation: Exegetical Lyric after the English Reformation
“The Poetry of Interpretation” writes a pre-history of the twentieth-century phenomenon of close reading by interpreting the devotional poetry of the English Renaissance in the context of the period’s exegetical literatures. The chapters explore a range of hermeneutic methods that allowed preachers and commentators, writing in the wake of the Reformation’s turn to the “literal sense” of scripture, to grapple with and clarify the bible’s “darke texts.” I argue that early modern religious poets—principally Anne Lock, John Donne, George Herbert, William Alabaster, and John Milton—absorbed these same methods into their compositional practices, merging the arts of poesis and exegesis. Consistently skeptical about the very project they undertake, however, these poets became not just practitioners but theorists of interpretive method. Situated at the intersection of religious history, hermeneutics, and poetics, this study develops a new understanding of lyric’s formal operations while intimating an alternative history of the discipline of literary criticism.
This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2021-06-05.
More About This Work
- Academic Units
- English and Comparative Literature
- Thesis Advisors
- Murray, Molly
- Ph.D., Columbia University
- Published Here
- August 26, 2019