Text of Metaphysical Poets John Donne and Beyond. Who are the Metaphysical Poets? The Metaphysical poets...
Metaphysical PoetsJohn Donne and Beyond
Who are the Metaphysical Poets?The Metaphysical poets were a group of poets who wrote during the late 16th and early 17th century.
The most important poet of this movement was John Donne.
What is Metaphysical Poetry?
The Metaphysical poets introduced a fresh approach to poetry. They rejected the flowery imagery of their predecessors, such as Spenser and Shakespeare. Instead they sought to concentrate on clearly defined topics,often of a religious interest.
Metaphorical ConceitA conceit is an extended metaphor that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison.
Metaphorical ConceitWhereas Renaissance poets often use metaphors, their comparisons were often clichd (i.e.: love and a rose).Metaphysical conceits, however, compare two things that are vastly different (i.e.: Gods generosity and a bottle).
The Renaissance vs. The RestorationElizabethan literature generally reflects the exuberance of a nation expanding its powers, increasing its wealth, and keeping at bay its serious social and religious problems. Disillusion and pessimism followed, however, during the unstable reign of James I (160325). The 17th century was to be a time of great upheavalrevolution, regicide, and the restoration of the monarchy.
John Donne1572-1631He was born into a prominent Roman Catholic family but eventually abandoned Catholicism.Many of his poems are religious or philosophical in nature.
John DonneIn 1601, he married 17-year-old Anne More without her fathers consent, a serious crime against church and stateDonne arrested, jailed, and dismissed from his position Studied civil and religious law after getting out of jailDonne and Anne lost their money and had to live off friends and relatives; they had 12 children, five of whom died in infancy
Donnes StyleDonne based the rhythm and sounds of his poems on colloquial English; his poetry reveals spoken language much more that Shakespeares.Speaker in poems frequently sounds bitter, blunt, angry, thinking out loud. Sometimes speaker almost seems to be lecturing the woman he is addressing.Begins one poem For Gods sake hold your tongue and let me love.
Donnes StyleAll of Donne's versehis love sonnets and his religious and philosophical poemsis distinguished by a remarkable blend of passion and reason. His love poetry treats the breadth of the experience of loving, emphasizing, in such poems as The Ecstasie, the root of spiritual love in physical love. The devotional poems and sermons reveal a profound concern with death, decay, damnation, and the possibility of the soul's transcendent union with God.
Other Metaphysical PoetsBen Jonson (1572 1637) was an English dramatist, poet, and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays and his lyric poems. A man of vast reading and a seemingly insatiable appetite for controversy, Jonson had great influence on Jacobean playwrights and poets.
Other Metaphysical PoetsJohn Milton (1608 1674) was an English poet and author. He is best known for his epic poem, Paradise Lost. Milton was writing at a time of religious and political flux in England, and his poetry and prose reflect deep convictions, often reacting to contemporary circumstances.
Other Metaphysical PoetsRobert Herrick (1591 1674) was a 17th century English poet. Herrick became a member of the Sons of Ben, a group centered upon an admiration for the works of Ben Jonson.
Other Metaphysical PoetsAndrew Marvell (1621 1678) was an English poet. Marvell was a colleague and friend of John Milton.