The Newberry Library Colloquium

"A Diviner Breath than Flows from Helicon": Inspiring Sacred Verse in Early Modern England
Wednesday, April 3, 2013

4 – 5 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

Whitney B. Taylor, PhD Candidate, Northwestern University; 2012-13 Lawrence Lipking Fellow, Newberry Library

When the printers of George Herbert’s The Temple (1633) write that the work has “been inspired by a diviner breath than flows from Helicon,” they invoke a model of classical inspiration to introduce the most influential collection of Christian poetry in the English Renaissance. Drawing from the Newberry’s editions of The Temple, Whitney Taylor situates early modern poetic inspiration in the context of theological and philosophical discourses on inspiration and breathing. Proceeding from these accounts, this presentation isolates breath as a central metaphor for understanding questions of poetic creation, especially the complicated relationship between God and a poet composing sacred verse.

The Newberry Library Colloquium is a weekly gathering of Newberry staff members, fellows, scholars-in-residence, and readers on Wednesday afternoon in the Towner Fellows’ Lounge. Refreshments are available at 3:30 pm and an informal presentation begins at 4 pm, followed by discussion. The talks are varied, but all relate to the Newberry collections in some way. Speakers may describe a current research project, highlight a particular collection, or discuss one of the Library’s many ongoing or special programs. The Colloquium is open to the public and no reservations are required.

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