Power in the Renaissance Era Metaphysical Poetry. Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry. Simple, conversational diction : written in manner of everyday speech Complex sentence patterns: words are easy to understand, but ideas are more difficult to grasp
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Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry • Simple, conversational diction: written in manner of everyday speech • Complex sentence patterns:words are easy to understand, but ideas are more difficult to grasp • Experiment with language in witty and imaginative ways • Metaphysical conceit: extended metaphor; makes surprising connection between two dissimilar things • Paradox:A statement that seems contradictory, but suggests a truth
Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry • Metaphysical Conceit “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” • 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. • Paradox “A Fever” • Oh do not die, for I shall hate • All women so when thou art gone, • That thee I shall not celebrate • When I remember, thou wast one.
Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry Philosophical themes: down-to-earth philosophical approach Disrupt poetic meter (regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables) Contain unusual imagery
The Renaissance 1485-1660 rebirth
The Renaissance • World view shifts from focus on religion/after life to stressing human life on earthwhich led to focus on art & literature, worldly indulgences because life is short • Popular themes of literature include: development of human potential and explorations of many aspects of love (unrequited, constant, timeless, courtly, subject to change)
The Renaissance • Popular literary forms: Shakespearean sonnets, drama, pastoral poetry, metaphysical poetry (poetry & drama) • Reaction to metaphysical poetry: not all middle-class embraced abstract thoughts, found metaphysical poets pretentious; more admired by upper class • Political, Religious, and Social Turmoil: Catholics in England were persecuted minority
John Donne1572-1631 • Founder of metaphysical poetry movement • As a young man: wrote passionate love poems(lyrics, erotic verse, sacred poems) and admired many women • Brother imprisoned for sheltering Jesuit (Catholic) priest & died in prison
John Donne • Public career: • At age 25, became personal secretaryfor Sir Thomas Egerton, royal court official • Recruited by close friend King James Ito write poems praising Protestantism • At age 43, became an Anglican priest; named dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London 6 years later (served until death)
John Donne • Private Life: • Born into Catholic family, but converted to Anglicanism later in life • Studied at Oxford & Cambridge but no degrees due to religious requirements • Secretly married Egerton’s niece, Ann More; lost his job and lived in poverty • Fathered 12 children • Buried at St. Paul’s Cathedral