John Donne and Conformity in Crisis in the Late Jacobean Pulpit

By Jeanne Shami | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

“DISCREET OR RELIGIOUS PREACHERS”: JOHN DONNE AND THE LATE JACOBEAN PUBLIC SPHERE

MOMENT OF CRISIS

HIS STUDY proposes to examine the late Jacobean pulpit, and particularly the sermons of John Donne, as an index of “conformity” and its expression in the years immediately preceding and including the transition from the Jacobean to the Caroline monarchy (1621—5). During these years, sermons, always important in Jacobean religious and political culture, became sites of contention for important matters of religious and national identity, contention epitomized by James I's Directions to Preachers. These Directions, issued on 4 August 1622 by George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, were an attempt to reduce to order a pulpit that had become increasingly critical of and outspoken about the implications for religious belief and practice of James's domestic and foreign policies. The uncertainty created by James's inconsistent policies regarding Catholics, his negotiations for a Spanish marriage for his son Charles, and his apparent indifference to the affairs of his daughter Elizabeth, her husband the Elector Palatine (now claiming the title of King of Bohemia), and James's grandchildren on the continent contributed to the heightened religious tension. Even the decision to issue such directions attested to James's desperation, or perhaps to his waning political acuity. Such an edict was practically unenforceable, especially outside London, and subject to the energy, commitment, and political agenda of James's bishops and their agents. Whether or not the Directions were actually effective in controlling the kinds of pulpit discourse that James intended, however, their issuing exposed fault lines in the Church of England that contributed to a reconfigured Caroline church and the demise of the Jacobean order. The crisis they both reflected and precipitated was, to some, barely perceptible at the time. But the pressures they exerted worked a tectonic shift in the balance of forces within the English church, the effects of which were profound.

The crisis in the late Jacobean English church is evidenced first by the pressures of censorship to make language conform to certain “acceptable” standards at a time when these standards were not well understood or articulated, nor the consequences of unacceptable speech clear. Under pressure, some preachers exceeded the boundaries of conformity, and paid the legal and political consequences, while others applied strict laws of self-censorship to their words. The forces brought to bear also radicalized formerly conformist divines, many of whom became increasingly aware of the pulpit's persuasive power and attempted to manipulate it. Efforts to control

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
John Donne and Conformity in Crisis in the Late Jacobean Pulpit
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 316

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.