Abstract

As a young fellow at Cambridge, Henry More wrote a collection of long allegorical poems that were first published in 1642. More’s poems are “Philosophicall Poems” in title and content; they are also Spenserian allegories. This article explores the ways in which More turns to the allegorical mode to express his key philosophical theory of “Vital Congruity,” the act of union between body and soul he knew “not better how to term.” I will argue that, in these experimental early works, when every material substance and action is considered analogous to its perfect divine source, the life of the soul between the terrestrial and celestial realms begins to assume an allegorical form. The isolated embodiment of allegorical images, the gap they inhabit between physical form and spiritual moral, makes the mode fittingly analogous to the limitations More places upon mortal enquiry. Contrary to critical assumptions, More’s poems demonstrate how allegory continued to be methodologically productive within early modern philosophical enquiry.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0383
Print ISSN
0039-3738
Pages
pp. 148-170
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-06
Open Access
No
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