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Milton and Jakob Boehme

A Study of German Mysticism in Seventeenth-Century England
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Margaret Lewis Bailey
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The present study is the first of a series of monographs on Germanic literature and culture. As the title indicates, the plan of the series does not limit its scope to German literature, but includes also the literatures and civilizations of the peoples of kindred origin. While literature is usually considered the most perfect expression of national genius, it is, after all, but a portion of that full, pulsating life of a people which manifests itself in the entirety of their civilization. To understand literature one must take into account not only the resolves and inner most strivings of the intellectual leaders of the time, but also the immediate and permanent effect of their work upon the life of the people. Nowhere does the close relationship between literature and culture present itself more clearly than in the great intellectual movements which weave, like the Earth Spirit in Faust, the living garment of Teutonic civilization. The present monograph is an attempt to trace one of these mighty though little noticed movements, which, starting in Germany during the seventeenth century, sub sequently, by devious ways, returns to its source. The science of literature should strive to comprehend and appreciate human life both present and past. Moreover, a general and live appreciation of literature is essential to progress in higher civilization. Or, as Carlyle has it, to apprehend the beauty of poetry clearly and wholly to acquire and maintain a sense and heart that sees and worships it, is the perfection of all human culture.

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