The George Herbert Society


George Herbert’s Travels: International Print and Cultural Legacies
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, October 9-11, 2008
An International, Interdisciplinary Conference



               We are pleased to announce an international and interdisciplinary conference on George Herbert’s worldwide print and cultural legacies. The conference will meet October 9-11, 2008 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The conference features plenary addresses by distinguished   American and British scholars Richard Strier of the University of Chicago, Elizabeth Clarke of the University of Warwick, and Judith Maltby  of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

We are pleased to announce that the conference will now be extended into the evening of Thursday, October 9, and will be opened by a shared reading by two distinguished American poets:

--Carl Phillips of Washington University, Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets

--Mark Strand of Columbia University, former U. S. Poet Laureate and Winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize

               The Temple In The Temple (published 1633), George Herbert wrote that “Religion stands on tiptoe in our land, / Readie to passe to the American strand.” When the young nonconforming minister John Harvard did just that and arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts from England in 1637, he brought with him his 400-book library, which included among its volumes a duodecimo copy of The Temple. Upon his death the following year, Harvard left this library, with half of his sizeable fortune, to the two-year-old namesake college in Cambridge. Thus Herbert began his print career of far-flung transportation and transformation: the loyal Anglican crossing the seas in the company of puritans, the quiet Wiltshire parson honored as a geopolitical prophet in New England and entering America’s first archive.

               On a par with Harvard University’s, UNC Greensboro’s George Herbert archive in the Walter Clinton Jackson Library comprises a wealth of rare items, from first editions of The Temple  and The Country Parson  through a dozen seventeenth-century printings of his poetry and prose to original American, Victorian and modern editions. As home to these rare volumes, to the papers of Herbert’s biographer Amy M. Charles, and to one of the oldest and most prestigious MFA Poetry and Fiction programs in the United States, UNCG provides a unique setting in which toproverbs consider the travels and transformations of Herbert’s words. Our conference will survey the publishing history and the international reception and influence of Herbert’s work, particularly the poetry of The Temple, but also his pioneering pastoral manual The Country Parson, and his quirky collection of surprisingly familiar “outlandish proverbs.”

               In addition to our distinguished keynote speakers, this gathering will feature numerous paper sessions addressing Herbert’s print afterlife as an honorary Puritan, Methodist, Anglo-Catholic, and skeptic; his place in Reformation politics, and in the history of pastoral theory and political moderation; and his varied cultural cameo appearances: in poetry from Vaughan to Blake and Dickinson to Bishop; in music and film; and even as a namesake to presidents and eminent Victorians.

              More specifically, we particularly welcome paper and panel proposals on Herbert’s relations to the many poets who have claimed or may show his influence: Donne, Crashaw, Herrick, Bradstreet, Harvey, Vaughan, Taylor, the Wesleys, Wheatley, Blake, Coleridge, Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson, Hopkins, Cullen, Eliot, Weil, Bishop, Auden, Larkin, Dylan Thomas, R. S .Thomas, Brooks, Heaney, and Glück, to name many but not all. We especially encourage papers and panels discussing fresh approaches to the teaching of Herbert and others in the contemporary classroom.

               Additional conference activities will include readings by contemporary poets in the Herbert tradition, renderings of Herbert in music and the visual arts, reflections on the work and legacy of Amy M. Charles, and an exhibit of the books and papers in the Herbert archive.

               We invite e-mail submissions. For 15-20-minute papers, send a 250-word titled abstract; for a complete panel, send an overall title and individual 250-word titled abstracts for each paper.  Please indicate UNCG 2008 and include a 1-page CV giving an e-mail and a regular mail address at which you can be reached during the spring and summer of 2007; and indicate any expected audio-visual needs (including special software needs).


Send submissions for UNCG 2008 to: Helen Wilcox ( ) and Christopher Hodgkins and
Robert Calhoon (
Due date for submissions: February 22, 2008