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Palgrave Macmillan

Typology and Iconography in Donne, Herbert, and Milton

Fashioning the Self after Jeremiah

ISBN 9781137397799
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Seventeenth-century authors so thoroughly imbued the language and imagery of the Bible in vernacular translation that their texts are to be read as attempts to inscribe themselves within the realm of the sacred. I analyze how three seventeenth-century English authors fashion themselves as a specific biblical figure, and how they fashion themselves in their works in order to bring their spiritual lives in line with the narrative arch of a biblical type. In this biblical guise Donne, Herbert, and Milton each hopes to move God to his circumstances as He responded in biblical times to the original type; each author also hopes to move the reader to act to reform himself and thereby avoid the fate of the biblical Israelites. By engaging the art of the period I isolate and describe Donne's, Herbert's, and Milton's self-fashioning as the melancholic Jeremiah. Through a consideration of certain paintings, sculptures, and emblems, I present literature in a broader cultural context, thereby employing an interdisciplinary approach. There are several different Renaissance images of Jeremiah I discuss to give the reader an idea of the iconographic tradition which develops around this biblical figure, but I focus on three images in particular: Claus Sluter's sculpture, the Well of Moses (1404), Rembrandt's painting, 'The Prophet Jeremiah Mourning over the Destruction of Jerusalem' (1630), and Michelangelo's fresco of Jeremiah on the Sistine Chapel (1508-1512). I present detailed analyses of these three works in order to show how and why each of the three English authors fashions himself after one of these three images, or types, of Jeremiah: Donne after Rembrandt's Jeremiah, Herbert after Sluter's Jeremiah, and Milton after Michelangelo's Jeremiah.

Reuben Sánchez is Lecturer at Sam Houston State University, USA. He is the author of Persona and Decorum in Milton's Prose (1997), as well as articles on Milton, Donne, Jonson, Shakespeare, children's literature, and Chicano literature.

1. 'The Sad Prophet Jeremiah' as an Image of Renaissance Melancholy
PART I: REMBRANDT'S JEREMIAH: DONNE AND LEARNING HOW TO BE A PREACHER
2. 'I turn my back to thee, but to receive corrections': Donne and the Art of Convetere in The Lamentations of Jeremy, for the most part according to Tremelius, and 'Good Friday, 1613 Riding Westward'
3. 'First the Burden, and then the Ease': Donne and the Art of Convetere in the Sermon on Lamentations 3:1 and in the Letter to His Mother
PART II: SLUTER'S JEREMIAH: HERBERT AND LEARNING HOW TO VISUALIZE THE HEART
4. 'My heart hath store, write there': Writing on the Heart in Herbert's The Temple
5. 'Then was my heart broken, as was my verse': Visualizing the Heart in The Temple
PART III: MICHELANGELO'S JEREMIAH: MILTON AND LEARNING HOW TO BE A PROPHET
6. 'With new acquist / Of true experience': The Failed Revolutionary in the Letter to Heimbach and Samson Agonistes
7. 'And had none to cry to, but with the Prophet, O earth, earth, earth!': Style, Witnessing, and Mythmaking in The Readie and Easie Way
8. 'As a burning fire shut up in my bones': From Polemic to Prophecy in The Reason of Church Government and The Readie and Easie Way
9. 'Unapocryphall vision': Jeremiah as Exemplary Model for Donne, Herbert, and Milton
Appendix A: Renaissance Angels and Other Melancholy Figures
Appendix B: Renaissance Images of Jeremiah
Appendix C: Renaissance Melancholy and Modern Theory

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