Becoming “a Citizen of the world”
Edward Herbert and continental music-making
in Edward and George Herbert in the European Republic of Letters
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This chapter, which looks at Edward’s lute book and the continental music books of his library that he bequeathed to Jesus College, Oxford, argues that his musical activity is intimately connected with the cosmopolitan aspirations described in his autobiography. Music, for Cherbury, is far more than simple and superficial entertainment. Its practice complements his recognition of a universal human condition and the ideal of the cosmopolitan sage derived from his own brand of Stoicism. Cherbury discovers in music not the disjunction between microcosm and macrocosm, but the intertwinement of the two spheres. In the particularities and instantiations of its performance it reveals to him the universal truths his philosophy sought. Even within the walls of his private study – his microcosm – music places Cherbury in the context of a harmonious macrocosm, giving him a truly cosmopolitan perspective on the world.

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