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The Jacobean Era . (1603-1625). Historical Context. Death of Elizabeth I, succeeded by James Stuart in 1603 Deep religious and political unrest in England English Puritans => America Political ferment in the House of Commons Philosophical and intellectual changes

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historical context
Historical Context
  • Death of Elizabeth I, succeeded by James Stuart in 1603
  • Deep religious and political unrest in England
    • English Puritans => America
    • Political ferment in the House of Commons
  • Philosophical and intellectual changes
    • Modern astronomy- Copernicus and Galileo
  • Undermining of faith and older world view (divinely ordered universe, Great Chain of Being)
origins
Origins
  • Definition of “metaphysical”: highly abstract, subtle, or abstruse
  • The term "metaphysical," as applied to the group of seventeenth-century English poets, was used by Augustan poets John Dryden and Samuel Johnson to reprove those poets for their "unnaturalness.”
  • Intellectual and theological concepts
definitions
Definitions
  • Metaphysical conceit- an unusual and intellectual metaphor that makes a comparison between two startlingly different things. Extended simile.
  • Paradox- an apparent contradiction which turns out on close inspection to yield a valuable perception or reveal a kind of truth
characteristics
Characteristics
  • Tendency toward psychological analysis of the emotions of love and religion
  • Characterized as intellectual, analytical, psychological, disillusioning, bold
  • Desired to express honestly, if unconventionally, the poet’s sense of the complexities and contradictions of life
  • Verbal wit and excess
  • Extended, elaborate, highly intellectual imagery
from meditation 17
From “Meditation 17”
  • “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

John Donne

definitions of cavalier
Definitions of “cavalier”
  • n.- A gallant or chivalrous man, especially one serving as escort to a woman of high social position; a gentleman.
  • adj. - Carefree and nonchalant; jaunty.
  • 17th century Cavalier poets were soldiers and courtiers first, authors only incidentally.
  • Ideal of the Renaissance man
characteristics1
Characteristics
  • Lighthearted in tone, secular in subject matter
  • Graceful, melodious, polished in manner
  • Licentious
  • Witty
  • Cynical
  • Courtly themes of love, war, chivalry, loyalty
  • Response to death: “carpe diem”
to the virgins to make much of time
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

Old Time is still a-flying;

And this same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,

The higher he's a-getting,

The sooner will his race be run,

And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,

When youth and blood are warmer;

But being spent, the worse, and worst

Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,

And while ye may, go marry;

For having lost but once your prime,

You may forever tarry.

-Robert Herrick