A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning - Donne, John # I. SOUND EFFECTS # The opening is hushed, a reverent atmosphere of a dramatically imagined situation of dying compared to parting. Repetition of “s” sounds creates a sibilant effect of quietness, pauses, faltering breath. Later Donne adopts a more argumentative tone. II, SUBJECT MATTER # A recognised tradition of love poetry written in response to the separation or an anticipated absence of someone you love.
At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners - John Donne # Context & Subject Matter # This is one of the Holy Sonnets. It shows us Donne in his mature years, no longer overtly concerned with the relationship between the sexes but with his relationship with God. The poem is not merely the outcome of a purely selfish preoccupation with the condition of his own soul, but, by putting in poetic form one of his own spiritual problems, the poet is preaching a sermon to all his readers.
John Donne a biography 1572 – 1631 (Shakespeare’s time) # Donne’s birth date is not certain; it is either January or February 1572. Donne’s Father died when John was 3 years old and his brother Henry died of gaol fever for harbouring a Catholic priest. His mother remarried a wealthy man so Donne was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge, but unable to graduate because he was a Catholic. He then studied Law but led the life of a young libertine; frequenter of plays and womanising.
Capsule Comparison Donne – W;t # Wit: “Apt association of thought and expression, calculated to surprise and delight by its unexpectedness.” OED Edson heard that John Donne was one of the difficult poets to read, so he seemed to be a perfect subject for her hard-edged protagonist’s research. Not ever having studied Donne, Edson spent countless hours sifting through centuries of criticism and commentary. She even found a model for her character E.
Courtly Love # Originating with the troubadours of southern Europe, Courtly Love illustrates the pain of unrequited romantic love - an emotional dead end because marriages were arranged as social contracts to consolidate property. Marriage for the upper classes was seen as a social contract to consolidate power through alliances. Monarchs sought the best unions to promote peace with rival states. Romantic Love # Mainly applied to the lower property less classes.
Death Be Not Proud - John Donne # Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe, For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Death with Dignity # None of us is going to get out of this life alive. Writers have written about death since the Epic of Gilgamesh, who strives for immortality. He learns that, “The gods gave themselves eternal life; they gave us inescapable death. Such is the destiny of mortal men.” Sophocles echoes this tenet in Oedipus at Colonus, 607: “Only the gods have ageless and deathless life”.
Donne -Hymne to God My God in my Sickinesses- John Donne # Subject Matter: # This hymn (song of praise) according to Izack Walton, was written 8 days before his death. Notice the possessive “my”, indicating Donne’s assurance that he is in direct communion with his God. He appears to know that his death is imminent and he is quietly confident that he will soon be united with his god.
FEATURES OF JOHN DONNE’S POETRY # John Donne is the most prominent poet of the Metaphysical school. His widespread popularity is due to his discovery by T.S. Eliot, who was impressed by the precision of expression, his cogent logic and the variety and distinctiveness of the voices Donne created. Donne wrote both on love and on death. Donne’s Subject Matter: # Love Poetry # Donne’s life and art can be depicted in three phases;
Metaphysical Poetry # A name later ascribed to poets who dealt with subjects concerning the abstract in concrete terms. They use logic to explain the inexplicable. Literally, metaphysical means to transcend above or beyond the physical or concrete. – often used in the sense that it was about non-material and supernatural things - the abstract rather than the physical. The age objects to the heroic and sublime, and it objects to the simplification and separation of the mental faculties.
The Flea - John Donne # In the Middle Ages, poetry was sung by minstrels in the Market place. From there it moved into the courts of the Monarchs and became the preserve of the aristocracy - as entertainment - John Donne. As the middle class gained their wealth it moved into the parlours of over stuffed gentility. Eventually poetry became the preserve of the Academia, studied in literature courses limited to esoteric coteries.
Title: The Relique # I. Context & Subject Matter # Sir Herbert Grierson, the great editor of Donne’s poetry, places “The Relique” as one of a group of poems that have an unusual motivation. Donne was a leading destroyer of the “Petrarchan” convention in love poetry, which was the fashion of writing verses expressing adoration of a lady without any expectation that the love could, or even should, be returned.
Donne - The Sunne Rising - John Donne # Subject Matter The Sunne Rising: # Donne lived during a time of great change; the challenge of new dogmas of religion as the power of the Catholic church giving way to reformers, the discovery of new worlds, the rise of empirical science… all giving rise to doubt. Where, amidst such flux, was permanence to be found? The great love poems, such as "The Good Morrow" “The Sunne Rising,” “The Canonization, exalt the lovers into monarchs–indeed, into deities of an alternative universe given coherence by their relationship.
W;T - Margaret Edson # Margaret Edson’s play, Wit (W;t - the semi-colon is a significant punctuation device) is a creative response to the Divine Poems of John Donne. Vivian Bearing, a demanding, hardnosed and uncompromising English professor has been diagnosed with terminal advanced (stage 4) metastatic ovarian cancer. As an academic, she attempts to treat the news with the detachment much like she would her own research into the poets of 17th Century Literature.