Richard Crashaw

Richard Crashaw (krăsh´ô), 1612?–1649, one of the English metaphysical poets. He was graduated from Cambridge in 1634 and remained there as a fellow at Peterhouse until the Puritan uprising, when he fled to the Continent (1643). Though he was the son of an ardent Puritan clergyman, by 1646 he had converted to Roman Catholicism. He served for several years as an attendant to Cardinal Palotto, who finally procured him a minor post at the shrine of Loreto, Italy, in Apr., 1649. Four months later Crashaw died of a fever. Although he wrote secular poetry in Latin and Greek as well as English, his fame rests on his intense religious poetry. His strange mixture of sensuality and mysticism is unusual in English literature and has been compared to the baroque art of Italy and Spain. The principal volume of his work is Steps to the Temple (1646), enlarged to include Delights of the Muses (1648).

See his complete poems ed. by G. W. Williams (1972) and his English poems ed. by R. Rambuss (2013).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Richard Crashaw: Selected full-text books and articles

Richard Crashaw: A Study in Style and Poetic Development By Ruth C. Wallerstein University of Wisconsin, 1935
Richard Crashaw: A Study in Baroque Sensibility By Austin Warren Louisiana State University Press, 1939
Image and Symbol in the Sacred Poetry of Richard Crashaw By George Walton Williams University of South Carolina Press, 1963
Four Metaphysical Poets: Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Crashaw By Joan Bennett Cambridge University Press, 1953 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "Richard Crashaw, 1613?-1649"
Three Metaphysical Poets By Margaret Willy The British Council, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. I "Richard Crashaw"
John Donne and the Seventeenth-Century Metaphysical Poets By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1986
Librarian’s tip: "Crashaw's 'Epiphany Hymn': The Dawn of Christian Time" by A. R. Cirillo
Poets and Mystics By E. I. Watkin Sheed & Ward, 1953
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VII "Richard Crashaw" and Chap. VIII "William Crashaw's Influence on His Son"
A Treasury of Great Poems: English and American By Louis Untermeyer Simon & Schuster, 1942
Librarian’s tip: "Richard Crashaw [1613?-1649]" begins on p. 466
FREE! A History of Elizabethan Literature By George Saintsbury MacMillan, 1887
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Richard Crashaw begins on p. 364
Poetry and Revolution: An Anthology of British and Irish Verse, 1625-1660 By Peter Davidson Clarendon Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Richard Cranshaw's poetry begins on p. 47 and 152
FREE! Steps to the Temple: Delights of the Muses, and Other Poems By Richard Crashaw; A. R. Waller University Press, 1904
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