The Tayloring Shop: Essays on the Poetry of Edward Taylor in Honor of Thomas M. and Virginia L. Davis

University of Delaware Press, 1997 - 222 páginas
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Some 350 years after his birth and only 60 years since the modern discovery of his manuscripts, Edward Taylor holds a place in American letters as the first important American poet. Exploring, and in several instances endorsing, that same hermeneutic within which Taylor wrote, the essays collected here provide readers with an understanding of some of the traditions of the past that informed the poetry of Edward Taylor. The objective is to make Taylor's intent more accessible to present-day readers. The bodies of tradition discussed here range from the Puritan concept of nature to Puritan casuistry. Three of the traditions presented - nature, casuistical, and elegiac - are analyzed for the way in which they help us understand the basic ideas in and the development of Taylor's poetry. The other three traditions - spiritual elegance, homiletic, and Psalmic - are analyzed for the way in which they help us understand the aesthetic behind the poetry. The focus of all the essays, of course, is Taylor's poetry. Two of the essays focus on, specifically, Taylor's Preparatory Meditations; two on Gods Determinations; and two on Taylor's minor poetry, in particular his elegies and valedictory poems.

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Prefatory Note
Edward Taylor and the Traditions of Puritan Nature Philosophy
The Peculiar Elegance of Edward Taylors Poetics
Three Ranks of Soul in Edward Taylors Gods Determinations
The Homiletic Design of Edward Taylors Gods Determinations
Edward Taylor as Elegist
Edward Taylors Valediction and Psalm 19
List of Contributors
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A Congregational minister engaged in the task of establishing a spiritual code in a new country, Taylor explored the discursive possibilities of the metaphysical tradition of George Herbert, John Donne, and Richard Crashaw. His Protestant religious convictions made his vocation of teacher and minister difficult in Restoration England. When Taylor refused to sign the 1662 Act of Uniformity, he was prevented from teaching school, and finally, in 1668, he set sail for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1671 Taylor graduated from Harvard College, and by 1673 he possessed his own parsonage and congregation in Westfield, Massachusetts. A year later he married Elizabeth Fitch, with whom he would have eight children. Their union lasted until her death. In 1692 Taylor married a second time; he and his second wife, Ruth Wyllys, would produce another six children. As a theologian, Taylor---like Milton and his Puritan forebears---needed to explain "God's ways to men," and both his poetry and his elaborate sermons endeavored to do so. Taylor's poetic meditations frequently dealt with divine love, while his sermons sought to teach the necessary doctrine that resulted from that love. But Taylor also tried to employ history, both cultural and personal, as an instructive device. In the early eighteenth century, Taylor inscribed an epic poem of over 20,000 lines that would later be published as A Metrical History of Christianity. Because Taylor preferred to be perceived as a minister, rather than as a writer, he went largely unpublished during his lifetime. But his use of metaphor, history, and language have established his reputation as an important American writer. His creative use of language has led contemporary critics to find his work particularly compelling.

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