Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Paul J. Voss - Chair

Second Advisor

Paul Schmidt

Third Advisor

Wayne Erickson


This thesis seeks to realign Richard Crashaw’s aesthetic orientation with a broadly conceptualized genre of seventeenth-century devotional, or meditative, poetry. This realignment clarifies Crashaw’s worth as a poet within the Renaissance canon and helps to dismantle historicist and New Historicist readings that characterize him as a literary anomaly. The methodology consists of an expanded definition of meditative poetry, based primarily on Louis Martz’s original interpretation, followed by a series of close readings executed to show continuity between Crashaw and his contemporaries, not discordance. The thesis concludes by expanding the genre of seventeenth-century devotional poetry to include Edward Taylor, who despite his Puritanism, also exemplifies many of the same generic attributes as Crashaw.