Emily Willett

Jeremy Young

REL 318

22 September 2003



Annotated Bibliography


Craig, Raymond A., ed. A Concordance to the Minor Poetry of Edward Taylor (1642?-1729), American Colonial Poet. Vol. 1, 2. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992.

These two volumes provide a concordance and cross-references to all of Taylor's minor poems.

Daly, Robert. God's Altar: The World and the Flesh in Puritan Poetry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.

This book sets out Taylor'suse of sensual metaphor against the alleged Puritan hostility towards art and "Catholic" sensuality. While downplaying this dichotomy and asserting Taylor's Puritan orthodoxy, Daly does highlight the more intense metaphysical level that Taylor reaches in his metaphors. Daly adequately provides an argument for Taylor's continuity with other Puritan poets, but his examination of Taylor's metaphors lacks a comprehension of the larger context of metaphysical English poetry.

Erklauer, William H. "The Dynamic Forms of Puritan Discourse: The Rhetorical Practice of Six New England Puritans." Ph. D. diss, University of Massachusetts, 1983.

In the chapter devoted to Taylor and Anne Bradstreet, Erklauer shows how their poetry served both as a doctrinal outlet and as a source of delight. This delight is both a personal spiritual experience and a mode of bringing glory to God. However, the paper mainly treats Bradstreet and is only marginally helpful in studying Taylor.

Fender, Stephen. "Edward Taylor and the Sources of American Puritan Wit." Ph.D. diss., University of Manchester, 1962.

This paper discusses the influences upon Taylor's poetry, especially highlighting Puritan Bible commentaries as sources for his underlying theology. Fender argues that the wittiness he sees in Taylor's writings is more the rule than the exception in Puritan New England. With the tremendous increase in Puritan poetical studies over the past decades, all of this information is now quite mainstream knowledge.

Gatta, John. Gracious Laughter: The Meditative Wit of Edward Taylor. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1989.

In exploring what Gatta calls Taylor's comic imagination, this book seems to misunderstand both the poet's motivations and the nature of metaphysical conceit. While Gatta does correctly note the common misconception of Puritans as perpetually serious and stern haters of art, he goes too far in asserting that Taylor wrote poetry as a game and that his conceits are intended to amuse an audience.

Gefvert, Constance J. Edward Taylor: An Annotated Bibliography, 1668-1970. University of Minnesota, 1971.

An annotated bibliography of Edward Taylor scholarship through 1970.

Grabo, Norman S. Edward Taylor. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1961.

This book, though seemingly slim in content, provides a hearty introduction to Edward Taylor on a multitude of levels. The author handles Taylor's upbringing, theology, poetry, and the influences of his works in separate chapters, and yet Grabo effectively shows how each aspect of Taylor's life influenced one another. The book culminates in a broad yet superficial analysis of his poetry, followed by a chapter discussing Taylor's accomplishments in life.

Guruswamy, Rosemary F. The Poems of Edward Taylor: A Reference Guide. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2003.

This slim volume seems intended to introduce the general public to Taylor's poetry. The general tone of this book is that of accuracy but not inspiration. All of the information is available in other, more scholarly works.

Hammond, Jeffrey A. Sinful Self, Saintly Self: The Puritan Experience of Poetry. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993.

This helpful book shows the results of the author's careful study of the diaries, letters, and other writings of the Puritan poets examined within. By studying what the poets themselves said about their poems and their religious beliefs, Hammond avoids reinterpreting their works by modern standards of writing and religious experience. Because of this perspective, Hammond stresses the commonalities and connections between Taylor and other Puritan poets such as Anne Bradstreet.

Johnson, Thomas Herbert. "Edward Taylor: A Puritan 'sacred poet.'" The New England Quarterly. Vol. X No. 2 (1937): 290-322.

This paper, written to be read to a literature convention, mainly addresses the poetry of and literary influences upon Edward Taylor. While exhibiting a good understanding of Puritan theology, the article chooses to focus more on literary devices than on theological doctrines. Because all of Taylor's poetry is intensely religious, of course, his devotion cannot be divorced from his talent at extended metaphors and deliberate metaphysical conceits. Johnson highlights the influence of George Herbert and Richard Crashaw in metrics and tone, and he considers Taylor to be a solidly orthodox Puritan theologian.

Keller, Karl. The Example of Edward Taylor. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1975.

This book contains three distinct sections, one about Taylor's upbringing, one about his life as a poet, and a discourse of his poetry and his religious influences. All three sections are quite thorough and interesting, especially the chapter on Taylor's use of Christ in his poetry and his images of salvation. Keller does a fine job defending his opening sentence, that "Edward Taylor is America's first poet of importance."

----------. "The Example of Edward Taylor." In The American Puritan Imagination. Ed. Sacvan Bercovitch. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1974. 123-138.

This essay emphasizes the Puritan habit of self-examination as exemplified in Taylor, who used his poems much as Edwards used his diary. This helpful piece also draws good links between the meditative process of writing poetry ion and glorifying God through artistic expression.

Mignon, Charles Jr. "The American Puritan and Private Qualities of Edward Taylor, the Poet." Ph. D. diss, University of Connecticut, 1963.

Munk, Linda. The Devil's Mousetrap: Redemption and Colonial American Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 70-94.

The chapter in which the author writes of Edward Taylor is meant to fit into the purpose of the book as a whole: the practice of New England "divines" to draw from their backgrounds to express their theology. According to the author, Taylor used much of his knowledge of the Feast of Tabernacles in formulating his poetic typology. Unfortunately, the chapter on Edwards is short and poorly organized, rendering the material of little importance to a broader understanding of Edward as a theologian or as a poet.

Rowe, Karen E. Saint and Singer: Edward Taylor's Typology and the Poetics of Meditation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Rowe's purpose for writing this book is to expound upon Taylor's typology, which gives a deeper glance into his theology through his poetry. The author helpfully precludes her discussion of Taylor with an intellectual and historical explanation of typology, and throughout the work, she aims to establish Taylor as a poet of Anne Bradstreet's mettle with Jonathan Edwards' religious fervor, with varying levels of success. NB – Rowe adheres to the principles used by Norman S. Grabo in transcribing excerpts of Taylor's poetry.

Scheick, William J. The Will and the Word: The Poetry of Edward Taylor. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1974.

This book discusses Taylor's notion of the soul as symbolic of the whole man, either as a stronghold of sin or of grace. The book delves into the influence of Aristotle upon Puritan New England, and Taylor specifically, while providing the manifestations of this influence in Taylor's works. Although many interesting points are addressed and pursued, the continuity of thought often breaks at awkward moments, leaving the book as a tattered epistemological work with good things to say but a lack of focus with which to say them.

Schuldiner, Michael, ed. The Tayloring Shop. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1997.

This book is a collection of six essays on Taylor's poetry and the ties between his faith and his writings. Many themes, such as Taylor's embrace of the wilderness, compliment other scholarly works about him. The main focus of this collection is the illustration of three traditions in Puritan New England: the nature tradition, the casuistical tradition, and the elegiac tradition.

----------. Studies in Puritan American Spirituality: Essays on Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Catharine Maria Sedgwick. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2001, 81-141.

Two articles of importance, one on Taylor's understanding of Renaissance art and the other on his view of Puritan entrepreneurship, are included in this collection of essays. The topics of discussion are quite limited, though, and perhaps useful only for studying very specific aspects of Taylor's writings.

Stanford, Donald E. Edward Taylor. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1965.

A brief treatise on Taylor's life and poetry, this pamphlet could serve as a friendly introduction to Edward Taylor without being overwhelming or too informative for the casual reader. This booklet, however, would not serve well the purposes of a research paper or a deeper inquiry into Taylor's life and works.