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Metaphysical Poetry John Donne. Outline of the lecture. 1. Definition of Metaphysical poetry 2.Close reading: go and catch the falling star 3.Appreciation: Flea and A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning 4. Summary of Donne’s poetry 5. Formation of Metaphysical poetry

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Metaphysical Poetry John Donne


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    1. Metaphysical Poetry John Donne

    2. Outline of the lecture • 1.Definition of Metaphysical poetry • 2.Close reading: go and catch the falling star • 3.Appreciation: Flea and A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning • 4.Summary of Donne’s poetry • 5.Formation of Metaphysical poetry • 6.Assignment for next lecture

    3. John Donne and other Metaphysical poets

    4. I Definition of Metaphysical Poetry • Time: the early 17th century • Main features: mysticism in content and fantasticality in form; peculiar conceit, unique way of reasoning and comparison • Representatives: John Donne, Andrew Marvell and George Herbert • Significance: greatly influenced the modernists of the 20th century

    5. Metaphysical poetry, a peculiar Phenomenon ?

    6. Question? ? ? • Why was Metaphysical poetry kept being criticized for nearly 300 years since its appearance but re-estimated and re-elevated by modernist poets in the 20th century?

    7. II Appreciation of the poem Go and Catch the Falling Star Go and catch a falling star, Get with child a mandrake root, Tell me where all past years are, Or who cleft the Devil's foot, Teach me to hear mermaids singing, Or to keep off envy's stinging, And find What wind Serves to advance an honest mind.

    8. If thou be'st born to strange sights,Things invisible to see,Ride ten thousand days and nights,Till age snow white hairs on thee;Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell meAll strange wonders that befell thee,And swearNo whereLives a woman true, and fair.

    9. If thou find'st one, let me know,Such a pilgrimage weresweet;Yet do not, I would not go,Though at next door we might meet:Though she were true, when you met her,And last, till you write your letter,Yet sheWill beFalse, ere I come, to two or three.

    10. Q: What’s similarity in these 7 images? Go and catch a falling star, Get with child a mandrake root, Tell me where all past years are, Or who cleft the Devil's foot, Teach me to hear mermaids singing, Or to keep off envy's stinging, And find What wind Serves to advance an honest mind.

    11. Q: What’s the poet’s aim to list so many impossibilities?

    12. If thou be'st born to strange sights,Things invisible to see,Ride ten thousand days and nights,Till age snow white hairs on thee;Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell meAll strange wonders that befell thee,And swearNo whereLives a woman true, and fair.

    13. Q: Have you realized the aim of the poet till the end of the 18th line? • Q: If he has stated his intension clearly, what the next lines for then?

    14. Q: What the last nine lines for? for further confirmation: true love is unattainable. • Q: How do you get the implied meaning of the poem, or the attitude of the poet?

    15. If thou find'st one, let me know,Such a pilgrimagewere sweet;Yet do not, I would not go,Though at next door we might meet:Though she were true, when you met her,And last, till you write your letter,Yet sheWill beFalse, ere I come, to two or three.

    16. further Questions • Q: What’s the theme of the poem? True love is unattainable. • Q: How does the poet express this attitude towards love? in a indirect way by reasoning as a way to argue

    17. Analysis of the artistic features • Structure How many parts can the poem be divided into? • Language colloquial language • Poetic form irregular in line length 3 nine-line stanza rhymed in ababccddd

    18. III Two more examples 1) Donne’s The Flea It sucked me first, and now sucks thee, And in this flea, our two bloods mingled be This flea is you and I, and this Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.

    19. From the utilization of the image flea, what features can be perceived? peculiar conceit reasoning in argument enjoy the moment

    20. Donne’s A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning (excerpt) • If they be two, they are two so As stiff twin compasses are two Thy soul the fixed foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if th’other do. • And though it in the center sit, Yet when the other far doth roam, It leans, and hearkens after it, And grows erect, as that comes home. • Such wilt thou be to me, who must Like th’other foot, obliquely run; Thy firmness makes my circle just, And makes me end, where I begun.

    21. A Chinese Example of Conceit in Love 你侬我侬元 管道昇 你 侬 我 侬 , 忒 煞 情 多 ; 情 多 处 , 热如 火 ; 把 一 块 泥 , 捻 一 個 你 , 塑 一 个 我 , 将 咱 两个 一 齐 打 破 , 用 水 调 和 ; 再 捻 一 个 你 , 再 塑 一 个我 。 我 泥 中 有 你 , 你 泥 中 有 我 。 我 与 你 生 同 一 个 衾 , 死 同 一 个 槨 。

    22. 你侬我侬- Explanation and Analysis (1) • This poem was written by a woman named管道昇 in YuanDynasty. She wrote this poem in order to stop her husband 趙梦频from marrying a concubine. • The first two sentences, the writer describes how deep they love each other and what a great passion between them. 侬is a pronoun. It represent “You” or “I “, thus, 你 侬 我 侬means “I am you and you are me. We love each other very much so that we do not have to distinguish who we are, because we are together, our hearts and minds unitize together.

    23. 你侬我侬- Explanation and Analysis(2) • She compares their passionate love to fire. She uses fire to create a vivid image. Then, the writer uses soil to give a more vivid image to confirm their everlasting love. From the third sentence, use soil to knead a you and knead an I. Then, break us up together and mix up with water. Re kneads a you and re kneads an I. In this way, I have you and you could have me. In the last sentence, the writer confirms their permanent love that no matter live or die, they will be together for all eternity.

    24. IV Summary • In theme, or outlook, Metaphysical poetry is characterized by its negative attitude towards life, advocating enjoying the present time. • In art, metaphysical poets prefer colloquial language, irregular lines to sonnet or blank verse to show their unconventional spirit. good at reasoning and famous for peculiar conceit

    25. V Formation of Metaphysical poetry • social turmoil during the late Queen Elizabeth’s days and days of James I and Charles I • During the late Elizabeth’s days: the issue of the successor to the crown: betrayal of Wessex; and James VI of Scotland came to be the king of England as king

    26. 2) In the days of James I (1603-25) clashes between the King and Parliament 3) In the days of Charles I: (1625-40) Charles I dissolved the parliament in 1629, the English society experienced a history of 11 years without Parliament. From 1595-1625, a time of upheavals

    27. Anti-Catholic discourse and perplexity in religion since Religious Reformation • In 1524, Henry VIII---Religious Reformation---Church of England and Protestantism • Queen Mary: persecution to Protestants • Queen Elizabeth: restored the Church of England; religious comprising policy; • James I: Scottish Presbyterian; Puritans; Catholics against James I

    28. New Advancement in Navigation, Astronomy and Science • After Columbus discovered the New World, the navigation developed quickly on the sea. • The invention of many scientific instruments was another great progress. The microscope was invented in 1590. The telescope was invented in 1608 by a Dutchman

    29. Questions for next lecture • How do you comment the image of Satan in Paradise Lost? How does the image of Satan change compared with Satan in biblical story? • How to evaluate the image of God? • What is epic? Please list Milton’s three great epics. • What is blank verse?

    30. Questions for next lecture • Read Milton’s “On His Blindness” • When did Milton get blinded? What kind of attitude does the poet convey from this sonnet? • Is Milton a Catholic, or Protestant or a Puritan? How do you know? Can you find any hint from the sonnet? • What’s the connotation of the word “talent”? • Is the sonnet an Italian form or Shakespearian form? State the main differences between them.