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204 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 The book offers a rich brocade of interpretive readings and dexterous use of multiple discourses: theoreticat hlstoricat theological. However, Meakin needs a more firm justification for anchoring the study in Irigaray, who is not the only critic to engage with representations of the feminine, or even the best one. Even a comparatively early text such a Mary Ellmann's 1968 Thinking about Women could help on this front. It is not always clear whether Meakin's book is an investigation of sexual inequality, or the principle of the feminine (as distinguished from Donne's famous 'masculine persuasive force'), although part of this ambiguity is the result of Irigaray's own oscillation between these two poles. As a minor point, Meakin notes that there are some uncanny similarities between Donne and Irigaray, including a fascination with angles, an interest in the symbolism of thresholds, and a commitment to the experience of nearness. More of a focus on these kinds of resonances would have helped ground the similarities between Irigaray and Donne, and would have been enjoyable to pursue. These qualifications aside, the book contributes to the study of gender difference in the early modern period, serving as a lively revisitation of many of the classic themes of Dorme scholarship: his position within the emergent marketplace, his relations with his female contemporaries, the relationship of the sacred and secular in his writing, and the experience of wonder in his lyric poetry. (CARRIE HINTZ) Henry More. A Platonick Song of the Soul. Edited by Alexander Jacob Bucknell University Press. xxiv, 658. us $55.00 Writing 'To the Reader,' Henry More advises seclusion, asceticism, contemplation, and above all 'Stiffe conflict 'gainst importunate vice' for comprehension of the 1085 Spenserian stanzas that make up A Platonick Song of the Soul. Persons controlled by 'lust, wrath and fear' will find only 'Dark numerous Nothings.' Later he introduces an aesthetic consideration: lonely wish that arguments exile [i.e. fine-spun] ' May not seem nought unto the duller eye; Nor that the fatter ·phansie my lean style Do blame: it's fittest for philosophy. Here More faces the difficulty of didactic poetry's being tmpoetic - inevitably inasmuch as 'phansies florid wile' must be rejected as imprecise or insincere. But readers who complain with the Retrospective Review in 1822 of More's 'dry argument, unornamented statements of fact, awkward and ill-sustained fiction' are undoubtedly reading with 'the duller eye.' More writes passages of brilliant poetry, and makes lively reflexions HUMANITIES 205 on contemporary religion and politics, not to mention apparitions and witchcraft. In Plato's reception-history More's theorizing is distinctive and significant as it is in relation to Descartes, to 'enthusiasts' like Thomas Vaughan, to 'naturalists' like William Harvey and to admirers of Lucretius 's 'putid muse.' The first quarter of the poem, 'Psychozia,' is its most thoroughly Spenserian part: an allegory of Pysche's progress, from God to " individuated human souls, then back to God. The next and largest part, 'Psychathanasia,' draws mainly on Ficino to define the human"soul in relation to other existents and to assert its immortality. 'Psychozia' and 'Psychathanasia' were published together - with two shorter parts on the soul's wakefulness and individuality after death - in the 1642 edition (hereafter 1642). Stimulated by Descartes, More added Democritus Platonissans, on the infinity of worlds and of time, in 1646. He republished the entire work - introducing one more part, on the soul's pre-existence - in the 1647 edition (hereafter 1647). More also wrote extensive notes on 'Psychozia' and 'Psychathanasia' (with intriguing cosmological diagrams) and an 'Interpretation Generall' of the obscure words he uses either for 'Poeticall pomp sake' or for lack of a familiar synonym. All this Alexander Grosart republished, with a memorialintroduction and a glossarial index, in More's Complete Poems (1878; hereafter Grosart). Unfortunately Geoffrey Bullough's admirable edition of More's Philosophical Poems (1931; hereafter Bullough), with introduction and notes, includes only 'Psychozia'; so a complete critical edition of A Platonick Song is certainly needed. Alexander Jacob provides a 120-page introductory study and an oldspelling text (based, like Grosart and Bullough, on 1647), with footnotes that gloss and cite, or else cross-refer...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 204-206
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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