Homework Help

Discuss Donne as a representative poet of 17th century.discuss Donne as a...

user profile pic

insaaf | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 10, 2010 at 1:20 AM via web

dislike 1 like

Discuss Donne as a representative poet of 17th century.

discuss Donne as a representative poet of 17th century

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 10, 2010 at 1:42 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

Hello, Insaaf!

17th century Renaissance poetry is also known as the Metaphysical poetry, and its poets are also known as Metaphysical poets. The main characteristic of metaphysical poetry is to exalt beauty in a larger and harder to reach realm. In a completely spiritual, ethereal, and unmanifested world where all things are pure and unique. This is why in meta poetry you will not see bucolic passages, nor descriptions a la Romanticism, nor grotesque scenes a la Naturalism, and you won't even see the basic human emotions represented in a physical way.

Instead, abstract topics such as death, life, and love are admired or condemned from afar, as if nostalgically begging them to come down to us. There is also an unusual use of metaphors that are complex to connect but are part of the idea of unreachable heights of emotion.

John Donne is one of the most famous and powerful examples of metaphysic poetry, as it also is John Dryden, because he employs these very techniques to describe death in Death be Not Proud,  in Invictus, and many others. He also has a wit and a loving play on words that makes the reader fall emotionally for what he praises.

He also satirizes the debauched 17th century. These were times where their technology was increasing, new scientific discoveries weren taking place, the clergy's horrible behavior was under watch, Knights were no longer the ideal of chivarly like they were back in the 15/16th centuries, and society as a whole was changing drastically. Donne was a picture of satire where he wrote elegies, sonnets, versed notes, and poetry attacking the newfound frauds of the century while attaching himself to the admiration of another etheral parallel world in his most intimate and nostalgic poems.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes