An UnusualCharacter• A member of the Protestant clergy but known for his sensual and erotic writing.• Liked the ladies but often showed cynical contempt towards them.
Goe and Catch a Falling StarreIf thou best born to strange sights,Things invisible to see,Ride ten thousand days and nights,Till age snow white hairs on thee,Thou, when thou returnst, wilt tell me,All strange wonders that befell thee,And swear,No whereLives a woman true and fair.
Batter MyHeart • …“Except youenthrall me,• Healthy never shall be free, appetite for Nor ever chaste, except you life and its ravish me”… pleasures
What is Metaphysical Poetry?• Highly intellectual and philosophical• Intensive use of ingenious conceits• Turns of wit
Metaphysical Conceit• Extended/Exaggerated metaphor• Two vastly different images combined• Go to greater depths of comparison
• Moves away from Petrarchan tradition used by Shakespeare and Spenser• Revolts against clichéd comparisons
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning…“If they be two, they are twoso As stiff twin compasses are two ;Thy soul, the fixd foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if th other do”….
The Canonization• …“And by these hymns, all shall approve Us canonized for love”…
The SunneRising• Reader held to one line of argument• Eccentric chains of reasoning
The Flea• Unified sensibility: combination of thinking and feeling• The use of wit to persuade
Immediate Reaction• Metaphysical poetry met with ambivalence• Regarded as an abuse of the metaphor
Nobody LikesChange• Shift from “Donne, for not keeping of classical forms to accent, deserved hanging” more personal Ben Johnson poetry• Jagged rhythms resembling casual speech
Poetic Metre• Represented a shift from classical forms to more personal poetry• Changing and jagged rhythms closely resemble casual speech
However…InTime“I remember beingappalled whensomeone criticised mefor beginning just likeJohn Donne but notquite managing tofinish like John Donne,and I felt the weight ofEnglish literature onme at that point.”Sylvia Plath, 1962
Personal Poetry• Youth: love poetry and satires• Later years: religious poetry and sermons