Gracious laughter : the meditative wit of Edward Taylor
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Study of the New England colonial poet, Edward Taylor, and the relationship between his verbal wit and his religious commitment to Puritan belief. Gatta evaluates the anti-utilitarian dimensions and Puritan themes in Taylor's poems to draw larger conclusions about the New England soul.
Table of Contents
Divinity at play. Another view of the Puritan divine ; Wit's anatomy : from mind to humor ; Taylor's play : reverent parody and the comic imagination -- Pills to purge New England melancholy. The diagnosis of Puritan sorrow ; Wit, meditation, and the word -- From depravity to festival. The aesthetics of depravity ; The problem of audience and expression ; The festal attraction of the Lord's Supper -- The comic design of Gods determinations touching his elect. The character and precursors of Gods determinations ; The divine plot and human parody of creation ; The ludicrous trials of the doubting soul and the unwitting compliance of Satan ; Christ's curious paradise regained -- A festival frame of spirit : the preparatory meditations. The contemplative spark : Taylor's poetic triptych ; Patterns of play in the meditations -- Songs and valedictions : later meditations and other verse. Typological wit and the holy delight of canticles ; Taylor's wit of valediction.