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Presentation on theme: "THE RENAISSANCE (CAROLINE AND COMMONWEALTH PERIODS"— Presentation transcript:


2 WEEK 6 Introduction The Caroline age is named after Charles I ( ). Caroline is an adjective of Carolus, the Latin word for Charles. The age of Caroline is an age of poetry of three kinds or schools: Metaphysical, Cavalier and Puritan schools of poetry.

3 PURITANISM Milton represents the best of the Renaissance and the Puritanism. Though a Puritan, he was also a classicist and humanist. He delighted in everything that pleased his eyes. He was a passionate lover of beauty. He did not share the Puritan contempt for the stage. Nevertheless, he possessed the moral earnestness and the religious zeal of the Puritan.

4 His poetry is remarkable for the following characteristics:
i) Sublimity: Milton had a noble conception of a poet‘s vocation. To him poetry was not a mere intellectual exercise or diversion. It was something solemn, sacred and sublime. He pursued this ideal of poetry all through his life. Milton‘s poetry is sublime and majestic. It is the expression of a pure mind and noble mind, enriched by knowledge and disciplined by art. His poetry ennobles and elevates the readers.

5 Love of Beauty: Milton was possessed of a deep sense of beauty. He loved beauty in all its manifestations. His love for the external beauty of nature is exhibited in L‘Allegro, II Penseroso and Lycidas. The beauty of virtue attracted him. It found its earliest artistic expression in Comus. His last three works – Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes express his love for beauty and righteousness in a highly poetic manner.

6 Puritanism: There is also a powerful undercurrent of Puritanism in Milton‘s poetry. There is a nothing distinctly Puritan in his early poetry. It finds its earliest expression in Comus and Lycidas. In his later poetry the Puritan note is dominant, but it is always mild and subdued. The puritan and religious tendency in his later is seen in the choice of subjects, which are taken from the Bible. The aim of Paradise Lost is ―to justify the ways of God to men.‖ Paradise Regained portrays Christ‘s resistance to Satan‘s temptations and his victory over them. The theme of Samson Agonistes is also Biblical and is imbued with moral earnestness.

A new kind of poetry, known as the metaphysical poetry, began with John Donne. It is characterized by much genuine poetic feeling, harsh metres, and those strained and whimsical images and turns of speech, which are called conceits. Donne‘s works include Satires, Songs and Sonnets and Elegies. His poetry is classified into three categories – amorous, religious and satirical. His poetry reveals ―a depth of philosophy, a subtlety of reasoning, a blend of thought and devotion, a mingling of the homely and the sublime, the light and the serious, which make it full of variety and surprise.

8 The following are their chief characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry:
1. Fantastic Conceits: -Their poetry is seldom and an expression of what has been expressed by earlier poets. It abounds rather in thoughts brought from ―afar, from the innermost recesses of their own mind.

9 II. Treatment of the Inwards:
The Metaphysicals deal not so much with the outward world—man, nature, and human life— as with what passed in their own mind. The Elizabethan, even when personal, dealt with what was but common experience. But the Metaphysicals lived in the world of their own fancy and speak of that only. This makes their thought novel and startling. As a child, Vaughan says in The Retreat, he had glimpses of his prenatal existence to which he longs to go:

10 III. Monstrous Hyperboles:
Metaphysical poetry abounds in hyperboles that not only could not be credited but could not be imagined. In Sweetest Love, I Do not Go, Donne‘s mistress sighs, she exhales not breath but soul; and when she weeps, she sheds not tears but his blood.

11 THE CAVALIER POETS Cavalier poets, a group of English poets associated with Charles I and his exiled son. Most of their work was done between 1637 and Their poetry embodied the life and culture of upper-class, pre-Commonwealth England. They mixed sophistication with naïveté, elegance with raciness. Writing on the courtly themes of beauty, love, and loyalty, they produced finely finished verses and expressed with wit and directness. The poetry reveals their indebtedness to both Ben Jonson and John Donne. The leading Cavalier poets were Robert Herrick, Richard Lovelace, Sir John Suckling, and Thomas Carew.

12 The most common characteristic of Cavalier Poetry is its use of direct language which expresses a highly individualistic personality. In more detail, the Cavaliers, while writing, accept the ideal of the Renaissance Gentleman who is at once a lover, a soldier, witty, a man of affairs, a musician, and a poet, but abandon the notion of his being also a pattern of Christian chivalry.

13 They avoid the subject of religion, apart from making one or two graceful speeches. They attempt no plumbing of the depths of the soul. They treat life cavalierly, indeed, and sometimes they treat poetic convention cavalierly too.

14 LET’S SUM UP In this unit we have seen what Caroline Age is, its general features characterised by civil war, rise of Puritanism, lack of spirit of unity, dominance of intellectual spirit and decline of drama. We studied the poetry of the age including Puritan Poetry, Metaphysical Poetry and Cavalier poetry along with their features and major poets. This section of the unit studies Puritan poetry and Milton as a puritan poet extensively; Metaphysical school of poetry thoroughly and Cavalier poetry in its entirety.


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