Ceremony and Community from Herbert to Milton: Literature, Religion and Cultural Conflict in Seventeenth-Century England

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This book examines the relationship between literature and religious conflict in seventeenth-century England, showing how literary texts grew out of and addressed the contemporary controversy over ceremonial worship. Examining the meaning and function of religion in seventeenth-century England, the book shows that the conflicts over religious ceremony which were central to the English Revolution had broad cultural significance; they involved not only conflicting attitudes towards art and the body, but a clash between different ways of constructing social relations, human identity, and the relation of the Protestant present to the Jewish, pagan and Catholic past. Achsah Guibbory's readings of Herbert, Herrick, Browne, Donne and Milton explain how their writings show what was at stake in the conflict over ceremonial worship, and how different ideas of community turned on that conflict.