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Lovers’ infiniteness


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A simple PPT to assist in analysis of John Donne's 'Lovers' Infiniteness' for IGCSE Literature.

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Lovers’ infiniteness

  1. 1. Lovers’ Infiniteness John Donne
  2. 2. John Donne • Born in London • Known as the father of the Metaphysical Poets • He was born Roman Catholic at a time when Catholics were a persecuted minority in England • Studied at Cambridge and Oxford • Eventually joined the Anglican church after his younger brother was convicted of Catholic loyalties and died in prison. 1572 - 1631
  3. 3. • Donne was appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton • While sitting in Queen Elizabeth’s last Parliament in 1601, Donne secretly married Anne More, the sixteen-year-old niece of Lady Egerton. Donne’s father-in-law disapproved of the marriage. As punishment, he did not provide a dowry for the couple and had Donne briefly imprisoned. • The couple suffered social and financial instability, exacerbated by the births of many children.
  4. 4. • He was later appointed as Royal Chaplain in the Anglican Ministry • His wife died at the age of 33, after giving birth to their 12th child, a stillborn • In 1621, he became dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral • In his later years, Donne’s writing reflected his fear of his inevitable death. • His learned, charismatic, and inventive preaching made him a highly influential presence in London. Best known for his vivacious, compelling style and thorough examination of mortal paradox. • He died in 1631.
  5. 5. Style • The most independent of the Elizabethan poets • Revolted against the easy, fluent style, stock imagery, and pastoral conventions of the followers of Spenser. • Aimed at reality of thought and vividness of expression • Common subjects of Donne’s poems are love (especially his early life), death (especially after his wife’s death) and religion. • Noted for his poetic metre, which was structured with changing and jagged rhythms that closely resemble casual speech. • Considered the master of metaphysical conceits, an extended metaphor, that combines two vastly different ideas into a single idea, often using imagery. • His works are also witty, employing paradoxes, puns and subtle yet remarkable analogies. • Donne’s pieces are often ironic and cynical, especially regarding love and human motives. • His poetry represented a shift from classical form to more personal poetry
  6. 6. What’s the poem about? • The poet complains that he does not yet have “all” of his beloved's love, despite using all of his resources to woo her • She should not leave some love for others, nor should she leave herself open to wooing by others later • Yet, he also wants her to keep some of her love for him in reserve so that they can enjoy a constantly growing relationship. • Is it love, or the lovers, who are infinite?
  7. 7. Lovers’Infiniteness If yet I have not all the love, Dear, I shall never have it all, I cannot breathe one other sigh, to move, Nor can entreat one other tear to fall. All my treasure, which should purchase thee, Sighs, tears, and oaths, and letters I have spent, Yet no more can be due to me, Than at the bargain made was meant. If then thy gift of love were partial, That some to me, some should to others fall, Dear, I shall never have thee all.
  8. 8. Or if then thou gavest me all, All was but all, which thou hadst then; But if in thy heart, since, there be or shall New love created be, by other men, Which have their stocks entire, and can in tears, In sighs, in oaths, and letters outbid me, This new love may beget new fears, For, this love was not vowed by thee. And yet it was, thy gift being general, The ground, thy heart is mine; whatever shall Grow there, dear, I should have it all.
  9. 9. Yet I would not have all yet, He that hath all can have no more, And since my love doth every day admit New growth, thou shouldst have new rewards in store; Thou canst not every day give me thy heart, If thou canst give it, then thou never gav’st it; Love’s riddles are, that though thy heart depart, It stays at home, and thou with losing sav’st it: But we will have a way more liberal, Than changing hearts, to join them, so we shall Be one, and another’s all.
  10. 10. Form & Structure • 3 stanzas, each of 11 lines • Regular rhyme scheme (ABABCDCDEBB) • The 11th line of each stanza incorporates a different meaning of the word ‘all’, becoming almost a refrain. • Epistrophe draws the reader’s attention to focus on the true meaning of having “all” of someone or “all” of their love.
  11. 11. Tone, Mood & Figurative Language • Tone – wistful, anxious, possessive, jealous, anguished lover? (Does not take into account the opinion of the woman!) • Mood – dreamlike, romantic, yet tense • Pastoral imagery • Profane, sometimes sexual metaphors allow this poem to be interpreted on two different levels; pure love, or a more banal form of physical possession
  12. 12. Check out more resources here… • infiniteness/ • hn-donne-50300632 • 7xU • RxZs
  13. 13. Essay Questions • 1. How does John Donne reveal his attitude towards love in his poem ‘Love’s Infiniteness’ ? Or: • 2. Comment on the way Donne uses imagery and metaphors to striking effect in his poem ‘Love’s Infiniteness’.