Thomas Traherne and Seventeenth-Century Thought

Thomas Traherne and Seventeenth-Century Thought

Edited by Elizabeth S. Dodd, Cassandra Gorman

New essays on Thomas Traherne challenge traditional critical readings of the poet.
Thomas Traherne has all too often been defined and studied as a solitary thinker, "out of his time", and not as a participant in the complex intellectual currents of the period. The essays collected here take issue with this reading, placing Traherne firmly in his historical context and situating his work within broader issues in seventeenth-century studies and the history of ideas. They draw on recently published textual discoveries alongside manuscripts which will soon be published for the first time. They address major themes in Traherne studies, including Traherne's understanding of matter and spirit, his attitude towards happiness and holiness, his response to solitude and society, and his Anglican identity. As a whole, the volume aims to re-ignite discussion on settled readings of Traherne's work, to reconsider issues in Traherne scholarship which have long lain dormant, and to supplement our picture of the man and his writings through new discoveries and insights.

Elizabeth S. Dodd is programme leader for the MA in theology, ministry and mission and lecturer in theology, imagination and culture at Sarum College, Salisbury; Cassandra Gorman is lecturer in English at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Contributors: Jacob Blevins, Warren Chernaik, Phoebe Dickerson, Elizabeth S. Dodd, Ana Elena González-Treviño, Cassandra Gorman, Carol Ann Johnston, Alison Kershaw, Kathryn Murphy

Table of Contents

Introduction: 'A lover of all Things ... An Active ey' (Select Meditations I.82): Traherne in Context
Foreword: Traherne and Historical Contingency - Julia Smith
'The Lanthorns Sides': Skin, Soul and the Poetry of Thomas Traherne - Phoebe Dickerson
No Things But In Thoughts: Traherne's Poetic Realism - Kathryn Murphy
Thomas Traherne and 'Feeling Inside the Atom' - Cassandra Gorman
'Consider it All': Traherne's Revealing of the Cosmic Christ in The Kingdom of God - Alison Kershaw
Crossing the Red Sea: The Ceremonial Law, Typology and the Imagination - Warren Chernaik
Sectarianism in The Ceremonial Law - Carol Ann Johnston
Thomas Traherne and the Study of Happiness - Ana Elena González-Treviño
'Innocency of Life': The Innocence of Thomas Traherne in the Context of Seventeenth-Century Devotion - Elizabeth S. Dodd
Afterword - Jacob Blevins


These essays offer a timely interjection that carves out new approaches to Traherne scholarship, makes insightful observations regarding neglected texts, richly contextualizes his writing.and points to future avenues for enquiry. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

Groundbreaking....Every part [of the book] expands our thinking about a figure who deserves closer attention. ENGLISH

Ranging across seventeenth-century philosophy, theology, politics and science, these essays in this volume shine new light on some perennial themes in Traherne studies....a major contribution to [the] field. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

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