Presentation on theme: " Metaphysics › the study of the ultimate reality beyond our everyday world, including questions about God, creation, and the afterlife These poets."— Presentation transcript:
Metaphysics › the study of the ultimate reality beyond our everyday world, including questions about God, creation, and the afterlife These poets are known for using symbols and images from the "physical" world to spin complicated arguments about such "metaphysical" concerns. They are known especially for the use of wit, which involves a lot of wordplay
the most outstanding of the English Metaphysical Poets born in London to a prominent Roman Catholic family but converted to Anglicanism during the 1590s entered the University of Oxford at age 11 where he studied for three years › According to some accounts, he spent the next three years at the University of Cambridge but took no degree at either university. began the study of law at Lincoln's Inn, London, in 1592, and he seemed destined for a legal or diplomatic career.
was appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Keeper of the Great Seal, in 1598 › His secret marriage in 1601 to Egerton's niece, Anne More, resulted in his dismissal from this position and in a brief imprisonment. principal literary accomplishments during this period were Divine Poems (1607) and the prose work Biathanatos (c. 1608, posthumously published 1644), in which he argued that suicide is not intrinsically sinful. became a priest of the Anglican Church in 1615 and was appointed royal chaplain later that year. In 1621was named dean of St. Paul's Cathedral. › attained eminence as a preacher, delivering sermons that are regarded as the most brilliant and eloquent of his time.
poetry embraces a wide range of secular and religious subjects wrote › cynical verse about inconstancy › poems about true love › lyrics on the mystical union of lovers' souls and bodies › satires and hymns depicting his own spiritual struggles
a figure of speech which makes an unusual and sometimes elaborately sustained comparison between two dissimilar things.
imitate the metaphors used by the Italian poet Petrarch. used in love poetry, exploits a particular set of images for comparisons with the despairing lover and his unpitying but idolized mistress. › the lover is a ship on a stormy sea, and his mistress "a cloud of dark disdain“ › the lady is a sun whose beauty and virtue shine on her lover from a distance The paradoxical pain and pleasure of lovesickness is often described using oxymoron › uniting peace and war › burning and freezing
characteristic of seventeenth-century writers influenced by John Donne noteworthy specifically for their lack of conventionality. In general, the metaphysical conceit will use some sort of shocking or unusual comparison as the basis for the metaphor. › When it works, a metaphysical conceit has a startling appropriateness that makes us look at something in an entirely new way. draws upon a wide range of knowledge, mainly using highly intellectual analogies; its comparisons are elaborately rationalized. › "The Flea" compares a flea bite to the act of love › In "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" separated lovers are likened to the legs of a compass, the leg drawing the circle eventually returning home to "the fixed foot"
It is opposite to the rich melodies with smooth rhythm and flow and the idealized view of sexual love which constituted the central tradition of Elizabethan poetry › especially in writers like the Petrarchan sonneteers and Spenser It adopts a diction and meter modeled on actual speech. It is usually organized in the dramatic or rhetorical form of an urgent or heated argument. › first drawing in the reader and then launching the argument It puts to use a subtle and often outrageous logic. It is marked by realism, irony and often a cynicism in its treatment of the complexity of human motives. It reveals a persistent wittiness, making use of paradox, puns, and startling parallels.
Stellar example of Donne’s use of the conceit Belief he wrote poem to his wife before he went away on a long holiday with his friends. Theme: › true, spiritual love vs. physical love
Imagery: › Parting of two lovers is likened to death of a virtuous man. › Lovers are likened to planetary bodies. › Lovers are likened to the two points of a compass.
No one’s sure when Holy Sonnets were written. › Many people think that Donne composed them after the death of his wife in 1617 weren’t published until 1633, two years after his death.