Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of English


This thesis explores the ways in which George Herbert confronts the language and ideas of body and soul theory. The first part deals with the tradition of body and soul thinking, a tradition which can be separated into two strands - a dominant one of division and a less influential one of unity. The first of these portrayed man as a divided being with a fundamentally 'innocent' soul and an 'evil' body. Plato was the major contributor towards this view and his Socratic dialogues formed the beginnings of what can be called a language of dichotomy. Most of the figures discussed in this thesis embraced this Platonic division, in whole or in part; indeed, almost no-one after Plato's time was left untouched by it. Works of Plotinus, Augustine, Luther and Calvin are all examined in this thesis and all are coloured by a dichotomy of body and soul.