By Sophie Read

The Reformation replaced perpetually how the sacrament of the Eucharist used to be understood. This examine of six canonical early glossy lyric poets strains the literary afterlife of what was once one of many maximum doctrinal shifts in English background. Sophie learn argues that the stream from a literal to a figurative realizing of the word 'this is my body' exerted a strong resourceful pull on successive generations. to demonstrate this, she examines intimately the paintings of Southwell, Donne, Herbert, Crashaw, Vaughan and Milton, who among them symbolize a wide variety of doctrinal and confessional positions, from the Jesuit Southwell to Milton's heterodox Puritanism. separately, each one bankruptcy examines how Eucharistic principles are expressed via a specific rhetorical trope; jointly, they remove darkness from the continuing value of the Eucharist's transformation good into the 17th century - no longer easily as an issue of doctrine, yet as a rhetorical and poetic mode.

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Extra info for Eucharist and the Poetic Imagination in Early Modern England (Ideas in Context, Volume 104)

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This process, known as ‘transubstantiation’, was described thus by Aquinas in the thirteenth century: ‘We have under this sacrament . . 43 Luther argued that the rational analysis offered by Aristotelian categories was inappropriate to the mystery of the sacrament, which should instead be apprehended and accepted purely as a matter of faith. 44 For Luther did not, in fact, follow through his own argument on sacramental grace, maintaining consistently that there was some sort of physical presence in the eucharist.

The two men, rather, are of a fundamentally different cast of mind: they exemplify alternative rhetorical outlooks, and their theological divergences are involved, whether as symptom or cause, in interpretative differences in thinking about language. For Cranmer, there is no necessary literal level to which figurative expression can be reduced. ’71 Cranmer’s investment in the possibilities of figuration is thorough-going and far-reaching. Rejecting the doctrine of real presence redirects the focus from priest and Host to communicant and word, from objective meaning to subjective interpretation.

25. His Majesties Proclamation, Concerning the Book of Common-prayer, and the Directory for Publike Worship . . With some Observations Thereupon (Oxford [London], 1645), p. [2]. Arnold Hunt, ‘The Lord’s Supper in Early Modern England’, Past and Present, 161 (1998), 39–83 (82). 36 Introduction constitute his major poetic achievement, though he was to live for another forty years after writing them. For both men, the republican Interregnum, with its hostile anti-Laudian policies, constituted an absence which compounded a deeper absence.

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