Spring 1954 • Vol. XVI No. 2 Nonfiction |

Donne and Eliot: Metaphysicals

"Metaphysical Poetry"—the term implies, in itself, an analogy between two periods when the style prevailed; and, however unconsciously or chaotically (perhaps the more significantly the less deliberately), the analogy has determined a good deal of thinking about poetic styles. Donne and his followers are "familiar voices," are "the historical justification [no less!] of a contemporary school," are "in the direct current of English poetry" and "mature" too, are related to our time by a "close sympathy," represent " a generation faced by many problems similar to our own," and so on.1 The voluble assertion of this kinship by contemporary poets is a fact almost as striking as the kinship itself; poets so extraordinarily concerned about their ancestors are probably not very aware or confident of their descendants. Perhaps this has some relation to the vexed question of humility and arrogance. In any event, the limitations of the parallel are almost as striking as the insights which it

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Donne’s Divinity

By Charles M. Coffin

"Metaphysical Poetry"—the term implies, in itself, an analogy between two periods when the style prevailed; and, however unconsciously or chaotically (perhaps the more significantly the less deliberately), the analogy has […]

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