Robert Herrick's self-presentation in Hesperides and his Noble numbers

Faull, Lionel Peter (2011) Robert Herrick's self-presentation in Hesperides and his Noble numbers. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Literature has tended to be cut from the moorings of its authorial origins under the influential literary criticism of the past forty years. This thesis is an attempt to re-moor a work of literature to its authorial origins; particularly a work of literature in which the author-poet‘s self-referential markers are so overtly and persistently present as is the case in Hesperides and His Noble Numbers. Although there is a significant overlap between the real-life Herrick and the Hesperidean Herrick, the two figures cannot be regarded as identical. Instead, Herrick‘s deployment of specific genres and not of others, his chosen conventions for ordering a collection of miscellaneous poems, and his adoption of certain conventional poetic stances provide him with a semi-fictionalised way of declaring who he understands himself to be and how he wants himself to be understood. At the same time, the rich classical mythological associations of Herrick‘s title, Hesperides, declare his status as an inheritor of the classical literary tradition, whose hallmark during the Renaissance was the melding of classical, Christian and secular associations into new and complexly polyvalent literary works. For example, Herrick‘s appropriation of the classical mythological figure of Hercules provides him with both a narrative way and an allegorical way of reconciling the so-called secular, or profane poetry of Hesperides with the so-called religious, or divine poetry of Noble Numbers. In Noble Numbers, Herrick reveals new facets of his self-presentation to the reader, whilst also making explicit the theological congruencies between the two works. Herrick‘s religious self-presentation demonstrates his expansive scholarly interests, as well his instinct to include, rather than to exclude, the religious beliefs of others within his syncretistic sense-of-self. Finally, the placement of Noble Numbers after Hesperides is not a signal that Herrick privileged the former, or took his religion less seriously than he did his love for classical poetry, but rather that in Herrick‘s understanding of his world, man‘s fleeting glimpses of God in the secular sphere give way to a fuller comprehension of Him in the divine sphere.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Herrick, Robert,1591-1674, Hesperides, Noble numbers, English poetry, 1500-1700
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1010 Poetry
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English
ID Code:2142
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:01 Nov 2011 09:48
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:22
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