Distracted into heresy
in The daring muse of the early Stuart funeral elegy
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This short chapter departs from the earlier ones by considering scattered instances of a specific recurring trope: that the ‘distraction’ of elegiac grief might extend to matters of religious conviction. In particular, it explores how Protestant poets present themselves as slipping into heterodoxy (spiritual rebellion, doubt, or despair) during the distraction of grief. These elegists evoke a slide into distinctly Catholic patterns of thought and language regarding the dead – ones that were rejected by orthodox Protestantism.


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