Refiguring the Sacred Feminine: The Poems of John Donne, Aemilia Lanyer, and John Milton

Refiguring the Sacred Feminine: The Poems of John Donne, Aemilia Lanyer, and John Milton

Theresa M. DiPasquale $70.00

Published in 2008 | cloth | ISBN: 978-0-8207-0405-0

Reviews:

Refiguring the Sacred Feminine is an important study not only casting new light on the poetry of Donne, Lanyer, and Milton and on the history of Christian doctrine and belief, but also making enormous contributions to our understanding of the feminine more broadly. It will be of interest to scholars who study the Literary Studies, religion, and culture of early modern England, to feminist theologians, and to readers grappling seriously with gender issues in Christian theology and spirituality.” — SRL

“DiPasquale distinguishes effectively between Donne's intensely masculine and Lanyer's protofeminist approach. However, she is especially skillful at reading Milton's humanity, which seems to resist the categories of masculine and feminine even as it celebrates the sacred feminine in its many incarnations. The book is also impressive for its thorough, consistent, and generous engagement with the work of other scholars, whose works provides the foundation of DiPasquale's synthetic yet original conclusions. Intellectually demanding, the book is not pedantic and certainly not condescending. In fact, it sparkles with its own illumination and grace.” — Renaissance Quarterly

"The study is bright with original thought, it is dense and rewards attentive reading. There is no denying that Refiguring the Sacred Feminine is a major contribution to the field of early modern devotional poetry." - Modern Language Review

“[A]n important study not only casting new light on the poetry of Donne, Lanyer, and Milton and on the history of Christian doctrine and belief, but also making enormous contributions to our understanding of the feminine more broadly.” — SRL

Book Information: 

John Donne Society Distinguished Book Award

Theresa M. DiPasquale's study of John Donne, Aemilia Lanyer, and John Milton demonstrates how each of these seventeenth century English poets revised, reformed, and renewed the Judeo-Christian tradition of the sacred feminine. The central figures of this tradition—divine Wisdom, created Wisdom, the Bride, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Ecclesia—are essential to the works of Donne, Lanyer, and Milton. All three poets are deeply invested in the ancient, scripturally authorized belief that the relationship between God and humankind is gendered: God is father, bridegroom, king; the human soul and the church as corporate entity are daughter, bride, and consort.

This important text not only casts new light on these poets and on the history of Christian doctrine and belief, but also makes enormous contributions to our understanding of the feminine more broadly. It will be of interest to scholars who study the Literary Studies, religion, and culture of early modern England, to feminist theologians, and to any reader grappling seriously with gender issues in Christian theology and spirituality.

Author Information:

THERESA M. DiPASQUALE is Gregory M. Cowan Professor in English Language and Literature at Whitman College. Her work on John Donne, Aemilia Lanyer, and John Milton has appeared in Modern Philology, John Donne Journal, Philological Quarterly, and The Journal of English and Germanic Philology. She is the author of Literary Studies and Sacrament: The Sacred and the Secular in John Donne, which won the John Donne Society Award for Distinguished Publication in 2000. She served as president of the John Donne Society in 2007–08.

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