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Edited by C.H. Sisson
RRP: GBP 7.95
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ISBN: 978 0 856358 61 6
Categories: 17th Century, Anglican
Published: November 1991
197 x 129 x 14 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
`When the name of Jeremy Taylor is no longer remembered with reverence,' wrote
Hazlitt, `genius will have become a mockery and virtue an empty shade.'
Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) was born in Cambridge, the son of a barber. Educated at Gonville and Caius College, his sermons drew Laud's attention, and he was sent to All Souls, Oxford. Chaplain to Laud and Charles I, he became rector of Uppingham in 1638. After his arrest as a royalist in 1645, he retired to Golden Grove, Carmarthenshire, and wrote most of his important works there. After the Restoration he was made Bishop of Down and Connor and later of Dromore. He died in Lisburn.
The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living is a manual of conduct for the private, public and spiritual aspects of the religious life. The mood of The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying is of rich melancholy rather than terror or despondency. These hugely popular books, and Taylor's other major works, were composed at a time when the Anglican Church was at its lowest ebb of persecution. They are among the most seductive works in the great literature produced by the Anglican clergy of the period.
There is much in Taylor that remains pertinent in the contemporary church, as C. H. Sisson makes clear in his incisive introduction and in the selection which suggests the shape and argument of Taylor's books.
C. H. Sisson, editor of this selection, was a poet, translator, essayist and novelist. His Carcanet books include Collected Poems, Selected Poems, God Bless Karl Marx! (poems), The Avoidance of Literature: Collected Essays, Anglican Essays, On the Look-out; a Partial Autobiography, and translations including Virgil, Dante, Du Bellay, La Fontaine, Horace and Lucretius.
Table of Contents
I The Golden Grove (1655)
To the pious and devout reader
II The Great Exemplar (1649)
1 The imitation of the life of Christ
2 The Nativity
3 The Resurrection
III Holy Living (1650)
1 Care of our time
2 Purity of intention
3 The practice of the presence of God
5 Chastity: rules for married persons
7 Rules and measures of justice in bargaining
IV Holy Dying (1651)
1 The vanity and shortness of man's life
2 The miseries of man's life
3 Exercising charity during our whole life
4 A dying man's sorrow and danger
7 A peroration
V Sermons (1651-3)
1 A funeral sermon
2 The righteous cause oppressed
VI The Liberty of Prophesying (1647)
Praise for C.H. Sisson `His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing through, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review 'I think he is worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets, with Eliot and Rilke and MacDiarmid.'
Robert Nye, the Scotsman
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