Disdaining the opening moves traditionally associated with literary biography – the expected orderly progress through ancestry, parentage, birth, schooling, juvenilia – John Drury’s masterly new account of the life and poetry of George Herbert begins instead with the poem that Drury sees as Herbert’s finest work, written in mid-career, ‘Love (III)’. Herbert designed this poem as the culminating piece in the collection upon which his poetic reputation would come ultimately to rest, The Temple (1633).
A new biography of George Herbert
Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert
by John Drury
Allen Lane, $49.99 hb, 416 pp, 9781846142482
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Ian Donaldson is an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. He is General Editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson (2012), and author of Ben Jonson: A Life (2011). He was the Oxford theatre reviewer for The Guardian (London) for a decade.
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