Of Paradise and Light: A Study of Vaughan's Silex Scintillans

Of Paradise and Light: A Study of Vaughan's Silex Scintillans

Of Paradise and Light: A Study of Vaughan's Silex Scintillans

Of Paradise and Light: A Study of Vaughan's Silex Scintillans

Excerpt

In this study of Henry Vaughan Silex Scintillans, which now and then also glances at some of his other and less important verse, I have tried to follow the critical ideal of combining the general and the particular, the long-range survey and the close- up scrutiny. I mention this fact because it explains the pattern of the book.

I would also briefly add, with particular reference to the middle section, that while I share many of T. S. Eliot's recently expressed views on the 'lemon-squeezer school of criticism', I believe too that we must vary our critical methods and our reader-responses from poet to poet. Because there is often so much multiple meaning, so much allusion and quotation, and so many fine threads of esoteric reference in Vaughan's poetry, we must read it with an exceptionally close attention and with a good deal of circumstantial knowledge if we are to share its experience, and enjoy it, to the full.

Texts for quotation always present something of a problem when one is writing about our older poets. For several reasons I have usually followed (with an occasional slight alteration) the modernised text of E. K. Chambers in the Muses Library edition of Vaughan's poetry in preference to L. C. Martin's authoritative Vaughan's Works, which is virtually a reprint of the originals. In Chapter XI, however, for the special purposes of that chapter, I have taken my quotations from Martin's edition. All the prose quotations, slightly modernised, are also from Vaughan's Works.

Biblical quotations are taken from the Authorized Version, and those from George Herbert follow (with one or two minor changes) the text of F. E. Hutchinson Works of George Herbert.

Among those who have helped me in various ways I should particularly like to thank my friend and colleague, Mr D. D. Brown . . .

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