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George Herbert and Post-phenomenology

A Gift for Our Times


Małgorzata Grzegorzewska

This reading of George Herbert’s poetry takes advantage of contemporary philosophical reflection on the givenness of being and of language. The book presents George Herbert’s poetic sequence, The Temple, as the poet’s response to a call which originates in the Word made flesh and at the same time resounds within the depths of an individual self. The focus of this analysis falls on the essential «Englishness» of Herbert’s poetry and its material weight: its visual concreteness, its musical harmonies, and its attention to human flesh made (English) word.
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Chapter Two: His Hands, Eyes and Lips: Love Made Flesh


1. The Altar

Upon entering The Church, our attention focuses immediately on the pattern poem shaped in the image and likeness of the altar table. The speaker introduces himself as a “servant” of God, and we soon discover that it is not artistic achievement that is his main goal, as revealed already in the astonishing paradox of the opening sentence:

A broken ALTAR, Lord thy servant rears,

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