November 23, 2011
English Professor Sean McDowell presented “Herbert as Bardd in the Imagination of Henry Vaughan” at the international “Locating George Herbert: Family, Place, and Traditions” conference in Powys, Wales. His presentation drew on his research of English Catholic poet Richard Crashaw. In response to the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in the 1640s and 1650s, Crashaw converted to Catholicism, which preserved the essential elements of his religious faith. He went into exile for the remainder of his life. In a parallel vein and in response to the same forces of oppression, Vaughan turned his back on an increasingly Puritan England and instead embraced his Welsh heritage, which influenced the expression of his faith in his mystically charged religious verse. Both Crashaw and Vaughan found meaning in non-English traditions and systems of thought. They turned to verse as a means of devotional survival at a time when they felt their faith under attack.McDowell also assisted conference organizers in the creation of the George Herbert Society, dedicated to fostering scholarly and creative work about the life and poetry of English devotional poet George Herbert. The George Herbert Society is now connected to the long-established George Herbert Journal. The next George Herbert international conference is set for 2014 at East Carolina University. McDowell received his Ph.D. from Indiana University and joined the College of Arts and Sciences faculty in 2002. He is past president of the Andrew Marvell Society and the Executive Director of the John Donne Society. McDowell received a Catholic Thought and Culture grant to conduct his research on Richard Crashaw.The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 33 undergraduate and 7 advanced degrees. The English Department offers degrees in creative writing, film studies, and literature.
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