2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Too much poetry, too little Herbert,
This review is from: Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert (Paperback)
I have been looking for a biography of Herbert for a long time. As someone about to enter the sacred ministry and as someone who has loved Herbert's Love III for a long time and found it a great spiritual comfort, I wanted to find out more about the life of the Vicar of Bemmerton. Sadly this book, whilst well written, provides too little on the life of Herbert, making his life seem dull and secondary to his poetry (as though his life is merely a adjunct to his writing, he merely a shell through which the muse speaks).
The problem (for me) is that we get too much of the poetry and too little of Herbert the man: the poetry is used as a lens through which to read Herbert's life, but too often the life is little explained or explored, in favour of the poetry. Another problem is the way in which Drury compartmentalises Herbert's life, providing long pen sketches on elements (and people) in Herbert's life, which are helpful in giving orientation, but unhelpful in that they sometime divorce Herbert from them and his context, giving Herbert a walk-on part in his own life.
There are thus two separate books here: a book on Herbert's poetry; and, a biography of Herbert, rather than the one we are offered.
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Initial post: 19 Apr 2014 00:23:47 BDT
J. S. Atherton says:
OK, but if you read the introduction, Drury sympathetically discusses the strengths and weaknesses of other accounts, and clarly sets out his own stall.
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