AD's English Literature : A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 54

A TO Z Literary Principles from History of English Literature: Note 54

History of English Literature : A Set of 26 Objective Questions & Answers: Metaphysical Poetry                               

  1. The metaphysical school of poetry is the kind of poetry written by a group of poets under the leadership of John Donne in 17th century. Other poets of the group are George Herbert, Richard Cashew, Henry Vaughan and Endrew Marvell. 
  2. It was Dr. Johnson who named Donne and his followers Metaphysical Poet’s. The name is now applied to those poets who employed a similar poetic manner and imagery, both in secular poetry and in religious poetry. 
  3. In a number of other lyrical and narrative works Sidney and Spenser displayed the ornate, somewhat florid, highly figured style characteristic of a great deal of Elizabethan poetic expression; but two other poetic tendencies became visible toward the end of the 16th and in the early part of the 17th centuries. 
  4. The first tendency is exemplified by the poetry of John Donne and the other so-called metaphysical poets, which carried the metaphorical style to heights of daring complexity and ingenuity. 
  5. This often paradoxical style was used for a variety of poetic purposes, ranging from complex emotional attitudes to the simple inducement of admiration for its own virtuosity. 
  6. Among the most important of Donne's followers, George Herbert is distinguished for his carefully constructed religious lyrics, which strive to express with personal humility the emotions appropriate to all true Christians. 
  7. Other members of the metaphysical school are Henry Vaughan, a follower of Herbert, and Richard Crashaw, who was influenced by Continental Catholic mysticism. Andrew Marvell wrote metaphysical poetry of great power and fluency, but he also responded to other influences. The involved metaphysical style remained fashionable until late in the 17th century. 
  8. The Metaphysical Poets have certain common characteristic which distinguish them from the Elizabethan poets and the poets following them. In their poetry, there is a fusion of emotion and calls ‘Unified Sensibility’-the ability to assimilate different experiences and elements. 
  9. Their poetry has an augmented tone. They also employ their intellectual cleverness I the use of unconventional Bold, starting and shocking parole drawn between dowers thing. Their poetry is chiefly distinguished by the abundance of conceits.
  10.  Metaphysical conceits used by them are functional and organic, not simply decorative like in the Elizabethan poetry
  11. The openings of their poems are highly dramatic and shock the reader into attention with their informal conversational style and arguments, it capture the reader’s attention. 
  12. Metaphysical poetry, being based on the complexity of the experience, being full of argumentativeness, physclogical, philosophical, and intellectual Seattleites, is different method have became very popular with the 20th century world like T.S.Eliot and W.H. Auden.
  13.  They are some time called ‘New Metaphysical’ because of Donne-like conceits mankind. 
  14.  The poetry of Donne is characterized by complex imagery and irregularity of form. He frequently employed the conceit, an elaborate metaphor making striking syntheses of apparently unrelated objects or ideas. 
  15. His intellectuality, introspection, and use of colloquial diction, seemingly unpoetic but always uniquely precise in meaning and connotation, make his poetry boldly divergent from the smooth, elegant verse of his day.

  16.  The content of his love poetry, often both cynical and sensuous, represents a reaction against the sentimental Elizabethan sonnet, and this work influenced the attitudes of the Cavalier poets.
  17.  Those 17th-century religious poets sometimes referred to as the metaphysical poets, including Richard Crashaw, George Herbert, and Henry Vaughan, drew much inspiration from the imagery and spirituality of Donne's religious poetry
  18. Donne was almost forgotten during the 18th century, but interest in his work developed during the 19th century, and his popularity reached new heights after the 1920s, when Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot acknowledged his influence. Donne also wrote the Anniversaries, an elegy in two parts (1611-1612); collections of essays; and six collections of sermons.
  19. Donne’s payer to God shows his intense faith in God’s mercy. Thus the poem’s on a note of hope. 
  20. The sonnet reflects the comply personality of Donne. He relies his sinfulness, yet he has faith in God and lopes to corn God’s great through repentance. 
  21. There is a mystical note the poem has Donne hear emphasizes the inter-relationship among human body, soul and God. As in his love poems, in his holy sonnets also, Donne is intensely personal. He is primarily concerned with God and his relation to God. It also reveal Donne’s inner struggle to learn how to repent for his sins. 
  22. John Donne, Anne Donne, Un-done.-John Donne (1572? - 1631) English metaphysical poet and divine. On being dismissed from the service of his father-in-law after marrying Anne. 
  23. Dr Donne's verses are like the peace of God; they pass all understanding.- Attributed to James I (1566 - 1625) English monarch. 
  24. Few writers have shown a more extraordinary compass of powers than Donne; for he combined what no other man has ever done—the last sublimation of subtlety with the most impassioned majesty.- Thomas De Quincey (1785 - 1859) British essayist and critic, December 1828. Referring to John Donne. Blackwood's Magazine Edinburgh
  25.  Here lies a King that ruled, as he thought fit,/The universal monarchy of wit.-Thomas Carew (1595? - 1639?)English poet and diplomat. Referring to John Donne"An Elegy upon the Death of Dr. John Donne" 
  26.  Reader! I am to let thee know, /Donne's Body only, lyes below: /For, could the grave his Soul comprize, /Earth would be richer than the skies.-Anonymous Written on the wall above John Donne's grave the day after his burial.
Ardhendu De
Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert 

       2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature


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