Vendler is undoubtedly a finely trained and extraordinarily resourceful reader, and I cannot imagine that anybody who cares for Herbert, or more generally for poetry, will fail to learn something from this book. (Frank Kermode New York Times Book Review)
Helen Vendler in The Poetry of George Herbert shows herself to be the most distinguished contemporary practitioner of the New Critical tradition of 'close reading.' (J. Hillis Miller New Republic)
Few English poets raise more clearly than Herbert, or in more challenging and explorable ways, deeper questions as to the techniques, conditions, kinds and aims of poetry and its variant relations to experience...It is her full recognition of these characteristics which makes Helen Vendler's study, The Poetry of George Herbert, so admirable as a continuation of the efforts in recent decades to return Herbert nearer to his due place. Her fine and generous understanding of these efforts combines with her venturesome yet wary percipience to make her a most enheartening as well as a steadying companion in the rereadings of Herbert (and the rethinkings) that her work will promote. (I. A. Richards Times Literary Supplement)
Vendler's fluent study explains the poet in full, from a close reading of one work (to establish his precise craftsmanship) to chapters on the emblems, liturgical poems, ethical poems, and patterned poems. But there is more than just annotated classification here, for Vendler continually shows stages of development in Herbert's thought and craft. (Library Journal)
About the Author
Helen Vendler is A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University.