Joseph Hall Criticism - Essay

Audrey Chew (essay date December 1950)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Chew, Audrey. “Joseph Hall and Neo-Stoicism.” PMLA 65, no. 6 (December 1950): 1130-45.

[In this essay, Chew discusses Hall's brand of neo-stoicism in relation to the evolving Christian stoic philosophy from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century. Further, the critic analyzes the major philosophical points on which Hall agreed with and diverged from Seneca, particularly noting that Hall embraced Seneca's puritanical concept of placing virtue before pleasure.]

During his own lifetime Bishop Joseph Hall was nicknamed “our spiritual Seneca” by Henry Wotton and later called “our English Seneca” by Thomas Fuller; as a result it has recently become...

(The entire section is 7945 words.)

U. Milo Kaufmann (essay date 1966)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Kaufmann, U. Milo “Two Divergent Traditions in Puritan Meditation.” In The Pilgrim's Progress and Traditions in Puritan Meditation, pp. 118-50. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966.

[In this essay, Kaufmann examines Hall as a founding father of a significant school of Puritan philosophical thought which advocated using biblical scripture rather than the imagination to initiate the state of mediation.]

The reader's first glimpse of Christian finds him in anguished meditation, standing in a field, with a book in his hand. The scene happily dramatizes a notable motif of Puritan discussions of meditation. The two Old Testament texts most often cited in...

(The entire section is 4853 words.)

Ejner J. Jensen (essay date spring 1967)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Jensen, Ejner J. “Hall and Marston: The Role of the Satirist.” Satire Newsletter 4, no. 2 (spring 1967): 72-83.

[In this essay, Jensen compares Hall's concept of satire with that of John Marston, observing that Hall has a stronger sense of the satirist's purpose. Jensen concludes that Hall's assurance carries over to his poetic technique as well, making his satire more effective and more readable than that of Marston.]

It is extremely difficult for a modern reader to approach the work of the verse satirists of the last decade of the sixteenth century with any assurance of his ability to read them properly. To a student who has based his conception of satire...

(The entire section is 5131 words.)

Rudolf Kirk (essay date spring 1967)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Kirk, Rudolf. “A Seventeenth-Century Controversy: Extremism vs. Moderation.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 9, no. 1 (spring 1967): 5-35.

[In this essay, Kirk suggests that Hall's public battle with Henry Burton anticipated his confrontation with Milton and the writers of Smectymnuus. The critic emphasizes Hall's moderation in both conflicts, noting that while it did not serve Hall well in the short term, it may have benefited the Church of England in the end.]

The controversy over episcopacy between Bishop Joseph Hall and John Milton is well known to all students of the poet and to others concerned with the politics leading up to the English...

(The entire section is 13237 words.)

Gerhard Müller-Schwefe (essay date summer 1972)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Müller-Schwefe, Gerhard. “Joseph Hall's Characters of Vertues and Vices: Notes Toward a Revaluation.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 14, no. 2 (summer 1972): 235-51.

[In this essay, Muller-Schwefe argues that Hall's opus can be viewed as “a document of his sober judgment of man.” The critic then maintains that Hall's Characters of Vertues and Vices is not a mere exercise in abstract moralizing, but rather an astute examination of human nature.]

Much has been done during recent years to make the works of even minor seventeenth-century authors available in reliable editions. Most of Joseph Hall's works, however, have still to be...

(The entire section is 7454 words.)

Leonard D. Tourney (essay date winter 1977)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Tourney, Leonard D. “Joseph Hall and the Anniversaries.Papers on Language and Literature 13, no. 1 (winter 1977): 25-34.

[In this essay, Tourney contends that Hall's prefaces to Donne's Anniversaries reveal that there was a contemporary critical understanding that Donne's eulogies were written to convey a didactic kind of meditation, to demonstrate praise of God, and to compose verse in the Petrarchan rhetorical tradition.]

The response of Donne's contemporaries to his two long and elaborate elegies on the death of Elizabeth Drury has been a recurrent issue among modern critics. Most have agreed with Sir Herbert Grierson that the poems were...

(The entire section is 4325 words.)

Ronald J. Corthell (essay date fall 1978)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Corthell, Ronald J. “Joseph Hall and Protestant Meditation.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 20, no. 3 (fall 1978): 367-85.

[In this essay, Corthell explores the Protestant undertones of Hall's method of meditation, particularly focusing on the relationship between Hall's Protestant ethos and his Senecan prose style. Corthell describes Hall's meditations as an example of his integrated approach to Protestant Christianity, merging strains of Puritan and Anglican thought.]


Several recent studies in seventeenth-century literature have drawn attention to a distinctively Protestant theory and practice of formal meditation...

(The entire section is 7797 words.)

Frank Livingstone Huntley (essay date 1979)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Huntley, Frank Livingstone. “The Bishop of Exeter, John Milton, and the ‘Modest Confutant.’” In Bishop Joseph Hall, 1574-1656: A Biographical and Critical Study, pp. 115-34. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1979.

[In this essay, Huntley focuses on a low point in Hall's career, during which he was at odds with other Anglican bishops and he was embroiled in a malicious public print war with John Milton and other writers. Huntley emphasizes Hall's moderation and consistency of character in the dispute, in contrast to the petty, ad hominem attacks of Milton.]

James I died on 27 March 1625. As late as the Humble Remonstrance to Parliament (1640), which played...

(The entire section is 9989 words.)

Leonard D. Tourney (essay date 1979)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Tourney, Leonard D. “The Taxonomy of Morals.” In Joseph Hall, pp. 43-65. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979.

[In this essay, Tourney surveys Hall's polemical writings in the period between the satires of his early career and his later tracts on ecclesiastical policy. Discussing Heaven Upon Earth, Characters of Vertues and Vices, Epistles and Resolutions and Decisions of Divers Practical Cases of Conscience, Tourney finds Hall to be in the mainstream of moral philosophy for his time.]

Established at Hawstead, Hall turned moralist, a role for which he was well prepared by education and temperament. Yet his decision to give up the flail for the...

(The entire section is 10237 words.)

Richard A. McCabe (essay date 1982)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: McCabe, Richard A. “The Virgidemiarum.” In Joseph Hall: A Study in Satire and Meditation, pp. 29-72. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982.

[In this essay, McCabe maintains that Virgidemiarum is a seminal work in which Hall sets out to satirize Elizabethan social and moral attitudes from a Puritan perspective. The critic further demonstrates that Hall masterfully employed a strict classical form of satire to protest social injustice and moral turpitude.]

I First adventure, with fool-hardie might
To tread the steps of perilous despight:
I first adventure: follow me who list,
And be the second English Satyrist.(1)

The publication of the Martin...

(The entire section is 9863 words.)

Ronald J. Corthell (essay date 1983)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Corthell, Ronald J. “Beginning as a Satirist: Joseph Hall's Virgidemiarum Sixe Bookes.Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 23 (winter 1983): 47-60.

[In this essay, Corthell discusses how the Virgidemiarum reveals Hall's early conception of himself as a writer in the Elizabethan era. Further, the critic argues that Hall's first satire represents the work of a young poet attempting to establish an original mode of writing in the shadow of great poets such as Edmund Spenser.]

In his compelling studies of the Elizabethan idea of the literary career, Richard Helgerson has encouraged a reading of Elizabethan literary history which attends...

(The entire section is 6081 words.)

Geoffrey Aggeler (essay date summer 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Aggeler, Geoffrey. “‘Sparkes of Holy Things’: Neostoicism and the English Protestant Conscience.” Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme 26, no. 3 (summer 1990): 223-40.

[In this essay, Aggeler connects Calvinist thought with the revived interest in stoicism, as modeled in works such as Hall's Heaven Upon Earth. The critic concludes that stoicism and Calvinism shared similar concerns about the corruption of man and the importance of self-knowledge and suggests that stoic civic ideals—freedom from tyranny, the duties of man, and the duties of rulers—may have informed the political beliefs of seventeenth-century Calvinists.]


(The entire section is 7637 words.)

Dan Steere (essay date fall 1996)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Steere, Dan. “‘For the Peace of Both, For the Humour of Neither’: Bishop Joseph Hall Defends the Via Media in an Age of Extremes, 1601-1656.” Sixteenth Century Journal 27, no. 3 (fall 1996): 749-65.

[In this essay, Steere examines Hall's role as a mediator who attempted to reconcile disputing factions of the Anglican church. The critic suggests that Hall's career and writings reflect the thought of a sizable group of Calvinists who were generally supportive of the Episcopacy, contrary to the assumption that Calvinist theology was unconditionally linked to Presbyterianism.]

In 1645, toward the end of his illustrious career, Bishop Joseph Hall...

(The entire section is 9091 words.)