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Title: The manuscript poetry of Thomas St Nicholas and the writing of 'scripturalism' in seventeenth-century England
Author: Daniel, Robert W.
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis examines the manuscript poems of Thomas St Nicholas (bap. 1602, d. 1668). His poetry is examined through the writing of 'scripturalism' in seventeenth-century England. I argue that 'scripturalism' was a literary trend in print and manuscript, prose and verse that shared the same scriptures to convey mutual religious, social and political values. St Nicholas' poetry engages with, as it exemplifies, this paradigm of writing. Chapter One investigates St Nicholas' Civil War prison verse epistle alongside Foxe's Acts and Monuments (1563) and prison narratives of the seventeenth century. His poem was part of a literary culture of prison writing that used shared scenes of suffering to connect present persecutions via a Protestant past. Chapter Two explores St Nicholas' hymn of recovery from sickness. His account of illness shares much with scriptural acts and attitudes widely performed and recorded in the early modern sick-chamber. Chapter Three looks at the psalm paraphrases used in his prison verse. It shows St Nicholas invoking certain psalms that were widely used by other parliamentarian preachers and poets to justify the war as just and righteous. Chapter Four examines St Nicholas' battle hymn composed during the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654). I demonstrate his contribution to a recognised form of parliamentarian victory praise which used battle hymns to trumpet military victories using key scriptural texts and images. Chapter Five explores St Nicholas' poem on the Great Fire of London (1666). By examining other urban fire narratives, a shared Biblicism emerges, whereby pulpiteers and balladeers were more united than divided when moralising these horrific events. This thesis argues that St Nicholas' poetry is evidence of a pervasive literary culture that used the Bible cross-denominationally, and occasionally cross-politically. Scripture provided a common reference for writers like him to describe both everyday and extraordinary occurrences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature