, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 95–110 | Cite as

Prophecy and poetry: The Second World War and the turn to biblical typology in George Herbert’s The Temple

  • Martin ElskyEmail author
Original Article


Rosemond Tuve’s Chapel Talks reveal that her demonstration of the connection between Herbert’s imagery and biblical typology is related to events of the Second World War. Her argument for Herbert’s use of typology is widely regarded as a reaction to William Empson’s ahistorical New Critical reading of Herbert. Her Chapel Talks indicate that her interest in typological imagery predated her dispute with Empson and are connected to her experience with mostly Jewish refugees at Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC. These talks illustrate the moral commitment behind her groundbreaking historical research and its relationship to theological movements leading to the Second Vatican Council and to a changed relationship between Christians and Jews following the war. As Tuve’s typological criticism was widely regarded as an influential vehicle for larger arguments for the value of historicism, her Chapel Talks suggest a connection of historical criticism to world historical events.



I thank Rebecca Parmer, College Archivist, Connecticut College (New London, CT) for access to Rosemond Tuve’s Chapel Talks and for her gracious and generous help. Special thanks also to Anne-Marie Miller-Blaise, Greg Miller, Andrew Johnston, and Yaakov-akiva Mascetti.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English and Comparative LiteratureBrooklyn College and The Graduate Center, CUNYNew YorkUSA

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