Philological Quarterly

This journal covers aspects of medieval European and modern literature and culture. The articles published incorporate physical bibliography, the sociology of knowledge, the history of reading, reception studies and other fields of inquiry.

Articles from Vol. 73, No. 4, Fall

Cunning Elements: Water, Fire, and Sacramental Poetics in "I Am a Little World." (Sonnet by John Donne)
In John Donne's sonnet "I am a little world," the speaker combats a nearly desperate fear of damnation with a desire to be purged, either by water or by fire. He declares himself "a little world made cunningly/Of Elements, and an Angelike spright," but...
Dickensian Disciple: Anglo-Jewish Identity in the Christmas Tales of Benjamin Farjeon
"Benjamin Leopold Farjeon [1838-1903] was of English birth but of the Jewish race."(1) Perhaps this is the casually anti-Semitic remark of one of Farjeon's Victorian contemporaries? It is not. The comment was penned by a biographer of his daughter, children's...
Flesh and Food: The Function of Female Asceticism in the Digby 'Mary Magdalene.'
Traditionally the subject of studies concerned with staging and provenance, the Digby Mary Magdalene has, in recent years, become the focus of arguments over its unity of character, plot, and theme.(1) Not surprisingly, this shift in the play's critical...
Matthew Arnold's "Tristram and Iseult": Greater Significance Than Love and Death
"Tristram and Iseult" (1852) is Matthew Arnold's only Arthurian work, and Arnold employed the ancient narrative as a veneer for social criticism in much the same manner as did his contemporaries Alfred Tennyson, William Morris, and Algernon Swinburne....
Preaching Pastor versus Custodian of Order: Donne, Andrewes, and the Jacobean Church
While many books have been written about puritans, the so-called Anglicans of the early seventeenth century have received much less historical attention until recently. It has often been assumed, by literary people especially, that those in the Church...
The Archpoet as Poet, Persona and Self: The Problem of Individuality in the Confession
The twelfth century witnessed renewed interest in the Delphic injunction "Know yourself": literature of the period shows a conspicuous increase in concern regarding the inner workings and motives of the mind. As might be expected, twelfth-century penitential...