Autumn 1949 • Vol. XI No. 4 NonfictionOctober 1, 1949 |

Donne and the Rhetorical Tradition

[This Review will publish a series of fresh papers on the poet Donne, running through several numbers, in the belief that he deserves a new evaluation now that the controversial period has passed. Mr. Empson's paper is the first.—Editors] I can't offer any new view of Donne, that is, my opinions however unacceptable have appeared in book form already; but I have been reading some of the recent learned works about the Elizabethan rhetoric teaching and its influence on the poets, and I feel something needs to be said about them. I shall mainly be concerned with Miss Rosamund Tuve's massive study Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery. I also read Shakespeare's Small Latin and Less Greek by T. W. Baldwin and Shakespeare's Use of the Arts of Language by Sister Miriam Joseph (comforting things to have in bed with one while the guns fired over Peking) and such is the extent of my erudition on the matter. Of course, in a broad way, these authors are quite right; the rhetoric traini

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William Empson (1906-1984) is best known for his first work, Seven Types of Ambiguity: A Study of Its Effects on English Verse (1930). He was an English poet and supported the school of literary criticism known as New Criticism through his many works and his critical process. Empson encouraged a close and detailed reading of works and was well known for his ability to explain meaning in poetic language.

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Tom Jones

By William Empson

[This Review will publish a series of fresh papers on the poet Donne, running through several numbers, in the belief that he deserves a new evaluation now that the controversial […]

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