1st Edition

Disciplinary Measures from the Metrical Psalms to Milton

By Kenneth J.E. Graham Copyright 2016
    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    222 Pages
    by Routledge

    Disciplinary Measures from the Metrical Psalms to Milton studies the relationship between English poetry and church discipline in four carefully chosen bodies of poetry written between the Reformation and the death of John Milton. Its primary goal is to fill a gap in the field of Protestant poetics, which has never produced a study focused on the way in which poetry participates in and reflects on the post-Reformation English Church's attempts to govern conduct. Its secondary goal is to revise the understandings of discipline which social theorists and historians have offered, and which literary critics have largely accepted. It argues that knowledge of the early modern culture of discipline illuminates some important poetic traditions and some major English poets, and it shows that this poetry in turn throws light on verbal and affective aspects of the disciplinary process that prove difficult to access through other sources, challenging assumptions about the means of social control, the structures of authority, and the practical implications of doctrinal change. More specifically, Disciplinary Measures argues that while poetry can help us to understand the oppressive potential of church discipline, it can also help us to recover a more positive sense of discipline as a spiritual cure.

    Table of Contents to come


    Kenneth J.E. Graham is Professor of English at the University of Waterloo, Canada

    "Kenneth J. E. Graham's careful expansion of the meaning and forms of ecclesiastical discipline is in itself extremely useful to scholars of early modern religion. So, too, is his observation that coercive discipline is not the sole province of the Calvinist branch of the English Church." -- Beth Quitslund, Ohio University, Modern Philology

    "Graham has written a fine book, with an unprecedented approach through church discipline to two major poets of the seventeenth century ... This book clearly proves that church discipline was a "vital concern" (38) for Herbert and Milton, and valuable for understanding their poetry." -- Daniel W. Doerksen, University of New Brunswick

    "I find Graham’s book largely persuasive. It draws welcome attention to an unfairly maligned, but utterly crucial aspect of post-Reformation religious culture, and it does so in a way that acknowledges the heft of New Historicist suspicion about discipline. Its careful nuance on this point makes it a salutary addition to the growing body of work on the ‘return to religion’ in early modern studies…. [S]cholars of Herbert, Milton, or post-Reformation English ecclesiology will find Disciplinary Measures well worth reading." -- Milton Quarterl

    "The literary readings in Disciplinary Measures are sensitive and nuanced, and Graham’s …. careful expansion of the meaning and forms of ecclesiastical discipline is in itself extremely useful for scholars of early modern religion." -- Modern Philology

    "[T]his engaging book … does for church discipline what the New Historicism did for the historical record…. [T]his book should change the way we think about the relationship of Protestant interpretations of church discipline to the early modern literary imagination." -- Renaissance Quarterly