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448 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE What can stabilize the circumstantial nature of an argument is an overriding sense of "mutual obligation:' which paradoxically arises from Donne's insistence on "the occasional and contextual situatedness" of a sermon's interpretive discourse (181). Active deliberation from the pulpit models homiletic engagement in the political arena, which also serves Donne to "shore up his own authority" (183). Particularly in the detailed analysis of the sermons in the final three chapters, Donne's Augustineprovides contextual information that will prove helpful to future interpreters. Seeking consolation for the "cognitivefragmentation" of our exegetical efforts, Donne parallels his role as preacher to the officeof the Holy Ghost, thereby discovering the eternal within the temporal (191-94). The hope advanced in the sermons lies in their model of "interpretive regeneration, as it draws out the spiritual meanings of the key terms it has established" (197). If Donne's "vision of glory:' as Ettenhuber argues, "remains interpersonal to the last:' so much so that "he is in dialogue with Augustine even as he prepares to meet his maker" (223), we should be thankful for having been allowed through this specialized study to listen in on at least one side of that conversation. Thomas Festa State University ofNew York, New Paltz TheOxford Handbook ofIhe EarlyModern Sermon. Edited by Peter McCullough, Hugh Adlington, and Emma Rhatigan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 9780199237531. Pp. xxvi + 608. $150.00. In one iconic novel of Western literature, Madame Bovary, a young student is introduced to a lazy group of boys who are apparently studying. Unlike them, he is said to be so attentive that he might as wellbe listening to a sermon. This is the first time that any word referring to discourse is mentioned in the novel and, with the boys' laziness, it is the first comment about behavior. And so it is that the religious word should command respect and a good listener, and it is significant that it should serve as an opener for this novel. This handbook of essays explains why the sermon is so important to one's culture in the Western world, be it in the fictional creation of Gustave Flaubert or in the modern world of English civilization and beyond. This collection of essays on the early modern sermon in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland easily receives the attention of a reader. Divided into five parts of varying lengths and covering the time from 1500 to 1720, the book ends with appendixes of about one hundred pages, some regarding governmental regulations, others relating observations of afewwho heard sermons, and yet others BOOK REVIEWS 449 reproducing texts of different preachers. A bibliography follows each chapter; a select bibliography and index close the book. Part I, "Composition, Reception, and Delivery:' garners a good half of the volume. Its first chapter is devoted to the art, "Ars Praedicandi: Theories and Practice" and the section ends with the analysis of a sermon which John Donne delivered at the funeral of Sir William Cokayne. In this chapter, "Preaching and Context: John Donne's Sermon at the Funerals of Sir William Cokayne," Peter McCullough, one editor of the volume, explicates the composition and development of the poet's performance for the burial rites of this wealthy and well-known figure of the time. McCullough shows how Donne respects the set order of the sermon and how he takes liberties with the form. Not only is the text of the sermon reviewed but the very ritual in which it took place, the funeral procession, those who attended and those who were excluded. Donne's task, McCullough recalls, was to use "every rhetorical muscle to reinscribe the private upon the public" (231), indeed how the testament and willof the deceased is related to the New Testament and willof the Lord. In Donne's sermon, as in all good sermons, if not in all reviews, we read that "criticism coexisted with consolation" (251). The poet's sermon was based on a Gospel quotation, and yet Donne superbly let "allusion remain allusion. It takes a superior orator, indeed a superior preacher, to have the strategic confidence to raise associations and possible interpretations of his text, but not...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 448-451
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-04
Open Access
No
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