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Metaphysical poetry Unknown artist (Ehglish School). Portrait of John Donne, 1631. National Portrait Gallery, London.

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Presentation on theme: "Metaphysical poetry Unknown artist (Ehglish School). Portrait of John Donne, 1631. National Portrait Gallery, London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Metaphysical poetry Unknown artist (Ehglish School). Portrait of John Donne, National Portrait Gallery, London.

2 concerned with the fundamental problems of the nature of the universe and man’s function or place in life 1. Meaning of metaphysical Metaphysical poetry METAPHYSICAL Only Connect... New Directions

3 Reflected the intellectual and spiritual crisis of the 17 th century. 2. Main characteristics John Donne, after a miniature by Isaac Oliver, Metaphysical poetry The poet was a man of “wit”, displaying his sensitivity, his knowledge and cleverness. The leading poet was John Donne. Only Connect... New Directions

4 A particular type of metaphor or simile called conceit: 2. Main characteristics Metaphysical poetry If they be two, they are two so As stiff twin compasses are two, Thy soul the fixed foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if th’other do. (John Donne, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning) The poet compares the souls of lovers to compasses. Only Connect... New Directions

5 2. Main characteristics The conceit Illustrates and develops ideas in a detailed and over-complex way, often with an effect of shock or surprise Insists on the relationship between A (the tenor) and B (the vehicle) Metaphysical poetry Only Connect... New Directions

6 Unusual images taken from all fields of knowledge: history, geography, astronomy, alchemy, mathematics, etc. Look, and tomorrow late, tell me, Whether both the Indias of spice and mine Be where thou left’st them, or lie here with me. Ask for those kings whom thou saw’st yesterday, And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay. (John Donne, The Sun Rising) 2. Main characteristics Metaphysical poetry Only Connect... New Directions

7 Take me to you, imprison me, for I Except you enthral me, never shall be free, Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me. (J. Donne, Batter my heart) 2. Main characteristics Paradox: A statement which is apparently contradictory though in some sense true: Metaphysical poetry Only Connect... New Directions

8 Dramatic quality Most poems begin in medias res: Go, and catch a falling star, Get with child a mandrake root, Tell me, where all past years are (John Donne, Song) 2. Main characteristics Metaphysical poetry Only Connect... New Directions


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