‘Leaves of Fame’: Katherine Philips and Robert Herrick's Shared Community
Although apparently incongruous, the comparison between Philips and Herrick helps us understand both authors' relationship to their medium, for both bridged the gap between scribal publication and print by planning their collections for the press. It is also intriguing that their works should have formerly been taken as representative of the ‘Cavalier mode’, with its emphasis on social networks and friendship. Yet both authors' obsession with their fame as poets goes beyond any social or political agenda, as is shown by their respective treatment of poetic friendship — one predominantly male and informed by Herrick’s familiarity with the classics, the other predominantly female and continental in influence. For both, writing about friendship becomes a form of community-building that moves away from the social to create an interpretive community of readers. Herrick and Philips are considered here not as representative of a collective poetic, but in light of the wider social phenomenon of the emergence of the autonomous modern author, breaking away from the social constraints of coteries.
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