Jenna Townend
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Loyalist and dissenting responses to George Herbert’s The Temple (1633) in the devotional writing of the 1640s–50s
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The interpretive generosity of The Temple and the capacity for its appeal to consistently cross denominational and political boundaries are the matters explored in this essay. In past assessments of Herbert’s reception during the mid-seventeenth century, there has been a strong focus on how writers took inspiration from him as a way of responding to the English Civil War within their religious lyrics, as in the cases of Henry Vaughan and Christopher Harvey. This essay not only brings to light new examples that can contribute to the conversation surrounding how Herbert’s poems were transformed by loyalist and dissenting readers, but also shows that we have neglected two other key areas where Herbert’s poems were appropriated within this context: prose texts and poetic forms. By broadening our understanding of how the appeal of The Temple can be understood within other forms of writing by Herbert’s admirers, and by examining their appropriative strategies, it is possible to elucidate new detail concerning the roles that Herbert played in the expression of devotional identities during the 1640s–50s.

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People and piety

Protestant devotional identities in early modern England


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