The ‘Infant-Ey’ in the Devotional Writing of Thomas Traherne

  • Jane Partner
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


Partner demonstrates the centrality of vision in shaping both the content and the form of Thomas Traherne’s writing. Particular attention is given to elucidating Traherne’s central devotional concept of the ‘Infant-Eye’, which described the correct way in which a believer should look at the created world so as to perceive God in his works. In combination with Traherne’s Neoplatonic conception of the indwelling of God, Partner shows that this model of perception sought to complicate and even overturn the conventional categories of the ‘subjects’ and ‘objects’ of vision. This preoccupation with vision is also shown to shape Traherne’s poetic style, and particular attention is given to Traherne’s innovative techniques in the ‘Thanksgivings’, where his arrangement of words on the page seeks to oblige us to read through the ‘Infant-Eye’.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Partner
    • 1
  1. 1.Trinity Hall and Faculty of EnglishUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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