Herbert's poems are characterized by a precision of language, a metrical versatility, and an ingenious use of imagery or conceits that was favored by the metaphysical school of poets. Carefully arranged in related sequences, the poems explore and celebrate the ways of God's love as Herbert discovered them within the fluctuations of his own experience.
All sorts of readers have responded to his quiet intensity; and the opinion has even been voiced that he has, for readers of the late twentieth century, displaced Donne as the supreme Metaphysical poet. The Living Temple Herbert, George. The English Poems of George Herbert.
The Life and Poetry of George Herbert
Patrides, Ed. The English Works of George Herbert. Palmer, Ed. The Works of George Herbert. Hutchinson, Ed.
He was no mean musician himself and savoured these memories. But then the Herberts knew everyone: since the Wars of the Roses, they had been among the greatest names in English and Welsh politics.
Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert
The Rainborowes. Julia Donaldson's homage to Edward Lear. Cavafy: the great Alexandrian. World of books. A clever boy from the family had many hands extended to help him on the way, even though most noblemen would have looked askance at the road that Edward and George chose: intellectual and not political pursuits.
Edward became not merely a distinguished historian and sceptical philosopher, but a peer in his own right as Baron Herbert of Chirbury. As Drury comments with rueful experience of modern academe , this was equivalent to a latter-day director of development, with potential for a fat salary while schmoozing the great and possibly good through the 17th-century equivalent of public relations — rhetoric or speech making.
That year the family borough of Montgomery provided George with a Parliamentary seat: the Herberts had clearly resigned themselves to underwriting his slightly unconventional route to worldly fame. His ambition told him that if academic life was unconventional for an aristocrat, still more was being a parish priest. One senses Herbert easing himself into this option: ordination as deacon only, accompanied by promotion as an absentee to a Lincoln Cathedral prebend canonry via a new and congenial patron, Bishop John Williams. But Herbert soon felt embarrassed and incomplete.
So Mr and Mrs Herbert settled in a comfortable but not showy rectory beside the little church of Bemerton, a brisk walk from Wilton House, splendid home of the Earls of Pembroke more Herberts, nephews of yet another poetic relative, Sir Philip Sidney. There, in the short space of three happy years, before his sickly frame brought him to the grave in his late thirties, Herbert virtually invented the Anglican country parson, both in the last works of his poetic genius and in a prose meditation on pastoral care which breathes gentle, humorous common sense.
As parson and poet, he demands a biography, whereas his undramatic if slightly unusual life would alone scarcely justify a scholarly article. That nerves me to make the same judgment. I far prefer Donne, but I do appreciate the effort Drury put into this book and can understand his passion. If you are a Herbert fan, you will love this book. If a casual fan, the odds are that it will turn you on or turn you off. Not a bad book at all, just one that didn't interest me personally as much as it should have so my rating is a little low for a general readership of poetic biographies.
Apr 30, Kris Lundgaard rated it it was amazing. George Herbert has long been one of my favorite poets along with Gerard Manley Hopkins and Edwin Muir , and now I have a better sense as to why. Drury provides insightful readings of many of Herbert's poems, providing economical glosses on challenging language, and placing them in the context of Herbert's life and era.
Although we lack significant details about the events of Herbert's life, Drury's approach in this biography, and his sensitive reading of the poetry, allows the reader to enter i George Herbert has long been one of my favorite poets along with Gerard Manley Hopkins and Edwin Muir , and now I have a better sense as to why. Although we lack significant details about the events of Herbert's life, Drury's approach in this biography, and his sensitive reading of the poetry, allows the reader to enter into Herbert's understanding of his world and his God, and his attempts to deal with the vicissitudes of his unfortunately short life.
One finishes the book feeling a closer acquaintance with Herbert than would have been possible in a more conventional biography, had such a thing even been possible. One of the most enjoyable chapters of this book was an interlude on the Williams Manuscript, prepared by Herbert around a decade before his death, which shows for many of his poems subsequent revisions.
Drury's discussion draws the reader into the poet's creative process and demonstrates the sensibility that marks Herbert as a rare poetic genius. Jun 24, Candy Wood added it. What a lovely book this is. From beginning to end, Drury includes readings of the poems, bringing out effects of rhyme, meter, and sound as well as diction.
An introductory chapter on Herbert's world sets the context while also including familiar poems, beginning with "Love III " "Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back".
Poems also inform the biographical chapters, with an "interlude" discussing the manuscript housed in Dr. Williams's Library in London and dated or earlier. The biog What a lovely book this is. The biography proper ends with the narrative of Herbert's death in , just short of age 40, but 5 more chapters follow, considering the first publication of the poems, their reception then and since, and their meaning today. In his aim "to bring together life and poetry, history and literary criticism as closely as possible," Drury refers to other perceptive readers, particularly Helen Vendler and T.
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In the end, it's about music, and love. Jan 30, Toby rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography. This is as good a biography of George Herbert as could be wished for, and will surely be the definitive one for many years to come.
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Herbert's life was comparatively short though Drury reminds us that a death at 40 was not that premature in the early seventeenth century where middle age effectively began at 30 and aside from his published poems and treatise on parish ministry, little remains in terms of primary sources some letters, but not much else.
Therefore a straight biography might offe This is as good a biography of George Herbert as could be wished for, and will surely be the definitive one for many years to come. Therefore a straight biography might offer thin fare. Drury spends approximately two-thirds of the book describing Herbert's life, helpfully illustrated through his poetry though not even approximate dates can be fixed to his poems, they have so little autobiographical content.
The remaining third is a study of Herbert's style and legacy. It is well written throughout and Drury does not assume that his readers will already know about iambs, trochees and enjambment. Having just reread all of Herbert's English poems in a critical edition, this volume still had a lot to teach me. I didn't know that in Herbert's time a banquet was not a feast as we understand it but a smaller repast of sweetmeats.
This makes more sense of prayer being the "church's banquet". The church's feast is of course the Eucharist. Drury also makes a case that Easter Wings is not intended as a poetic pictogram of angels ascending but of birds flying east, excusing all those publishers who have been criticised for printing the page at an erroneous 90 degree angle.
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Love III is the companion throughout. Jun 27, Diane rated it really liked it. This biography of George Herbert looks at how his times shaped his writing, and discusses many of his poems in depth. It also compares him with other English poets of the time, which I thought was interesting. Sep 18, Richard Anderson rated it it was amazing. Highly informative critical biography of the poet. Dec 18, Liam Guilar rated it really liked it Shelves: biographies , criticism-and-theory. I think the subtitle is the wrong way round.. There's not a lot of his life to know, but Herbert the person is absent from most of the book, which is taken up by Drury's readings of the poems.
He is a fine and careful reader, though repetitive, and inclined to overstate the obvious. If quoting a poem in full is there really a need for a paragraph summary to introduce it? For a biographer there's an obvious pit fall in reading the poems, and tak I think the subtitle is the wrong way round.. For a biographer there's an obvious pit fall in reading the poems, and taking the reading as evidence of the writer's beliefs and values, or even emotional states, especially when some of the value judgements seem so subjective Drury gets at Herbert the poet through a chapter on Herbert's surviving manuscript, comparing originals with revisions both in the manuscript and in the final version of poems published in the Temple.
Since Herbert epitomizes one of the major problems facing readers of modern poetry: ignorance of the bible, Drury does a fine job of explaining the theological background, as well as the biblical allusions in the poems, opening them for the modern reader. Aug 22, Andrew Marr rated it it was amazing Shelves: christian-spirituality , literature.follow
George Herbert - Wikipedia
George Herbert is among my most favorite composers. He shows an amazing ability to invent stanza forms that embody the content of the poem with a perfect fit of hand in glove. The wry and sometimes anguished humor that he uses to express his spiritual and moral crises make him a consolation to many readers, which was his hope if his work should be published. Nicholas Farrar of Little Gidding, to whom the poems were entrusted made sure they did find their way in print.
Born in an aristocratic a George Herbert is among my most favorite composers. Born in an aristocratic and cultured family, Herbert's life intersected with many important persons of his time including Lancelot Andrewes and John Donne. With Herbert being such a favorite, I have read many books about him and this one is the best. A detailed account of his life is interwoven with careful and insightful explications of many of his poems, adding up to a feast of poetic wit and a life conscientiously, of sometimes problematically, lived.