the opening poem, 1635 retains its structural significance even when moving the poem to a slot later in the book. As Wyman Herendeen notes, in both editions, ‘through … links between the La Corona sonnets and The Progresse of the Soule , Donne initiates the redefinition of his poetic vocation and effects a transfer from profane to sacred poetic. … [H]e makes his profane progress the beginning of a spiritual triumph that carries his readers through the “Holy Sonnets” and into the rest of the volume.’ 40
Critics from Don Cameron Allen to
Merry England that Yeats values in Spenser’s poetry also appear to have much in common with the profane ancient lore of Celtic Ireland which he was at pains to retrieve and to use as a force for regeneration and renewal.
The sections from Spenser’s work featured in Yeats’s anthology bore out his preoccupation with the esoteric and Neoplatonist dimensions of his writing as well as his fascination with the magical, otherworldly spaces that he constructed. Indeed, Elizabeth Bergmann Loizeaux has contended that Yeats learnt the importance of
works of the English Reformation, from John Bale’s dramas attacking Roman Catholicism in the 1530s to The Faerie Queene in the 1590s, owe an obvious debt to the personification allegory of Piers Plowman , to Chaucer’s portraits of hypocritical and greedy churchmen in the Canterbury Tales , and to the morality play tradition with its pantheon of profane and charismatic Vice figures.
Medieval literature was also known (which is to say, disapproved of as well as enjoyed) for its scatological and bawdy humour. Chaucer was the most revered English author of the
19 As Erasmus asserts in his preface to Folly , ‘anyone who protests that he is injured betrays his own guilty conscience’ (p. 60; see also Erasmus’s ‘Letter to Martin Dorp’, in Folly , p. 219). Harington similarly claimed that Orlando furioso is ‘neither vicious nor profane but apt to breede the quite contrarie effects if a great fault be not in the readers owne bad disposition ’; ‘An Advertisement to the Reader’, OF , p. 16 (my italics).
20 ‘To the reverende Divines’, in Gascoigne, Works of Gascoigne , Vol. I, p. 7.
21 Folie , p. 62.
construct a symmetrical structure in which the two sexes are equally implicated, thanks to the ravages of female desire and associated emotions. The troubles of Taillemont’s characters are caused by lapses from valid amorous and chivalric codes, not by the codes themselves. Thus he makes his Léontin a spoiler, a ‘parjure et desloyal ami’ (perjured and disloyal lover), who sneaks into the temple of Love to ‘prendre et piller les choses saintes et sacrées qui y sont, pour après les vendre, engager et permuter comme chose profane’ (take and pillage the holy and sacred
How did laywomen become nuns in the early modern world?
Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt
Accustomed as we are to the presence of nuns in the religious landscape of early modern Europe, we imagine a straightforward trajectory by which secular women who entered a convent took vows and donned a veil. This chapter interrogates the seemingly simple process by which laywomen were “converted” into nuns. Upon entering convents, women crossed a border that separated the profane from the sacred. The cloister setting, in turn, required them to adapt to a very different type of existence. They were expected to adhere to monastic principles, many of which were distinctly gendered. Using evidence from English and Spanish convents between 1450 and 1650, this paper will analyze the mechanisms, and the material considerations, that shaped this transformation. How did religious rules, convent architecture, male ecclesiastical oversight, material culture, the rhythms of daily life within the convent, and other factors shape the process by which secular women became nuns? Ultimately, the chapter argues, these conversions were uneven or incomplete. The mechanisms listed above that conditioned this conversion permitted and sometimes even encouraged a complicated identity that blurred the distinction between sacred and secular worlds.
knaves’ of introducing ‘profane and lewd expressions,
tending to foster sin and harlotry’, and of making people reflect
‘on government, its origin and its object’ thus shaking
‘the solid foundations of civil society’. 29
The favourable comments of Leicester and the Queen are
contrasted to these critical views. The Earl sees the theatre as a kind
of opiate, a latter-day soap opera, a circus which keeps the
R. O. A. M. Lyne, Further Voices in
Vergil’s ‘Aeneid ’ (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2001 ).
By extension, to defile and profane the altar:
‘violavit et aras / caelicolum’ (‘he profaned the
’. It’s only as he’s
grappling with the body, cutting it down, that he recognises
‘garments […] I oft have seen’ and realises ‘it
is Horatio my sweet son!’ There follow twenty lines of lament,
framed as a series of questions (‘Who?’ (18),
‘What?’ (19), ‘why?’ (24), ‘why?’
(26), ‘what?’ (28), ‘How?’ (31)) directed at the
‘savage monster’, the ‘vild profaner’, the
, the 1680 Poems on Several Occasions is ‘simply a scribal miscellany in typographical dress’. 33 Later print editions, often using 1680 as a copy-text, only introduced further confusion into the canon by incorporating items from less reliable manuscript sources and by removing or expurgating the more profane poems from the ‘Antwerp’ edition. Andrew Thorncome’s 1685 imprint, for instance, subtracts nine poems from 1680 and adds five others, none of which are likely authentic. What was long thought to be the best early Rochester , Jacob Tonson’s 1691 edition