John Suckling Criticism - Essay

Frans Dirk de Soet (essay date 1932)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: de Soet, Frans Dirk. “Chapter IV.” In Puritan and Royalist Literature in the Seventeenth Century, pp. 117-23. Delft, Netherlands: N.V. Technische Boekhandel en Drukkerij J. Waltman Jr., 1932.

[In the following essay, de Soet provides a brief overview of Suckling's life and praises his talents as a poet.]

A very important place among the cavalier poets who wrote between the accession of Charles I and the Restoration must be allowed to Sir John Suckling,1 the son of the secretary of state and comptroller of the household of James I.

He was born in his paternal house at Twickenham, in 1609. What we know of his life commences with...

(The entire section is 2487 words.)

Fletcher Orpin Henderson (essay date 1937)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Henderson, Fletcher Orpin. “Traditions of Précieux and Libertin in Suckling's Poetry.” ELH 4, no. 4 (December 1937): 274-98.

[In the essay below, Henderson explores how the works of John Donne and French poetic traditions influenced Suckling's works.]

The few students of recent times who have mentioned Sir John Suckling have uniformly recognized that he was influenced by the précieuse cult which grew up around Henrietta Maria. Among the first to discuss his poetry was J. B. Fletcher, who, in “Précieuses at the Court of Charles I,”1 shows that one may draw up a code book of platonic love from the letters of Suckling....

(The entire section is 8901 words.)

L. A. Beaurline (essay date 1960)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Beaurline, L. A. “The Canon of Sir John Suckling's Poems.” Studies in Philology 57, no. 3 (July 1960): 492-518.

[In the following essay, Beaurline addresses authorship issues related to a number of poems ascribed to Suckling.]

No scholar has attempted a systematic study of the authorship of Sir John Suckling's poems, and this is not surprising for the problems are very great. Modern editors frequently admit the confusion and doubt that surround the canons of most seventeenth century lyric poets. Many poets did not publish their work. Borrowing and imitating were common. Early editors and printers were sometimes not qualified to judge the attributions in...

(The entire section is 10106 words.)

John Freehufer (essay date 1968)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Freehufer, John. “The Italian Night Piece and Suckling's Aglaura.Journal of English and Germanic Philology 67, no. 2 (April 1968): 249-65.

[In the following excerpt, Freehufer discusses a 1638 staging of Suckling's Aglaura, arguing that this piece was likely the Italian Night Masque mentioned by contemporary critic Henry Wotton.]

Of the plays known to have been acted with scenery by the Caroline King's men, all but one can be shown to differ from The Italian Night Masque as Robinson described it. Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess was by no means “new” in 1633/4. Cartwright's Royal Slave was withheld from...

(The entire section is 4868 words.)

Thomas Clayton (essay date 1971)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Clayton, Thomas. “General Introduction.” In The Works of Sir John Suckling: the Non-Dramatic Works, edited by Thomas Clayton, pp. xxvii-lxxv. Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1971.

[In the excerpt below, Clayton surveys Suckling's critical reception from the seventeenth century through the nineteenth century.]


Suckling's literary reputation was established by 1638, when he was twenty-nine years old. “The Wits” had been sung to the King the year before,1 and Aglaura, also completed in 1637, was ‘acted in the Court, and at the Black Friars, with much Applause’, during the...

(The entire section is 4780 words.)

Raymond A. Anselment (essay date 1972)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Anselment, Raymond A. “‘Men Most of All Enjoy, When Least They Do’: The Love Poetry of John Suckling.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 14, no. 1 (spring 1972): 17-32.

[In the essay that follows, Anselment considers both the idealism and cynicism evident in Suckling's love poetry, and argues that Suckling is not a typical Cavalier Poet.]

Among the group of poets conveniently labeled “Cavalier,” John Suckling has in particular been stereotyped. Largely because of the set anthology pieces and the limited critical studies, “Natural, easy Suckling” is commonly seen as an unabashed rakehell and a dilettante writer whose amateur love poetry is...

(The entire section is 6154 words.)

Charles L. Squier (essay date 1978)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Squier, Charles L. “The Prose: A Bright and Elegant Surface” and “The Plays: The Goblins and Brennoralt.” In Sir John Suckling, pp. 33-56; 76-95. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1978.

[In the first of the two following essays, Squier analyzes Suckling's prose output, including letters and nonfiction, and focuses on what insights these pieces reveal about Suckling's other works. In the second essay, Squier examines Suckling's plays, and praises his skills as a playwright.]


Suckling's prose is limited in quantity, consisting of fifty-four or fifty-five letters, depending on one's view of a...

(The entire section is 18075 words.)

Thomas Clayton (essay date 1982)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Clayton, Thomas. “‘At Bottom a Criticism of Life’: Suckling and the Poetry of Low Seriousness.” In Classic and Cavalier: Essays on Jonson and the Sons of Ben, edited by Claude R. Summers and Ted-Larry Penworth, pp. 217-41. Pittsburgh: The University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982.

[In the essay that follows, Clayton examines four of Suckling's lesser known poems in order to illustrate his argument that the standard critical image of Suckling as a minor poet is shortsighted and limited.]

“Natural, easy Suckling”—with two lines of “Our upon it, I have loved / Three whole days together” and two of “Why so pale and wan, fond lover? / Prithee why so...

(The entire section is 10783 words.)

Kees van Strien (essay date 1995)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: van Strien, Kees. “Sir John Suckling in Holland.” English Studies 76, no. 5 (September 1995): 443-54.

[In the following essay, van Strien examines Suckling's letters in an attempt to piece together Suckling's time in Holland as a young man in his early twenties.]

Sir John Suckling (1609-1642) is one of the numerous British tourists who travelled in the Low Countries in the first half of the seventeenth century.1 Unlike Sir William Brereton (1634), Peter Mundy (1640) and John Evelyn (1641) Suckling has left no extensive account of his journeys. Only one letter seems to reflect his impressions of Holland and the Dutch.2 Suckling appears...

(The entire section is 6273 words.)