louis l. martz RenaIssance, mannerism, baroque: will we ever find a way to use these terms securely and aptly in discussions of English poetry? I think we may, but only if we can agree upon our definitions. We might agree to see Spenser and Sidney as examples of the High Renaissance, because of the essential symmetry and harmony of their poems. We might see Donne as an example of the mannerism of anxiety, described by Arnold Hauser,1 which needs to be distinguished (though not wholly divorced) from the mannerism of elegance, the "stylish style" described by John Shearman.2 We might then see George Herbert as related to this elegant kind of mannerism. Crashaw, of course, is fully established as representing the Roman Catholic baroque in the Italianate or Spanish mode. Vaughan might then be seen as representing the protestant baroque in the mode of a Rembrandt. These are brash statements, perhaps, but I hope to suggest how they may be justified. Spenser's Fowre Hymnes (1596) will provide an harmonious beginning, with a religious masterpiece in four panels, composed in the mode of the High Renaissance. These poems are so deeply imbued with the spirit of renaissance platonism that
Explorations in Renaissance Culture – Brill
Published: Apr 20, 2014
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