Redeeming Parcels of Time: Aesthetics and Practice of Occasional Meditation

Coolahan, Marie-Louise
April 2007
Seventeenth Century;Spring2007, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p124
Academic Journal
This article traces the aesthetics and popular practice of occasional meditation in the seventeenth century. A genre which has been neglected by critics in favour of its more demanding sibling, set meditation, occasional meditation grasps the random occurrence, applying it to the contemplation of the Protestant self and the divine. The genre exploits a rhetoric of spontaneity and simplicity which renders it accessible to all – particularly to women writers. However, it treads a fine line between utility and aesthetics, between plainness and eloquence; the difficulty of maintaining this balance is discussed in relation to Robert Boyle and, it is argued, ultimately contributes to its demise in the eighteenth century.


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