Essay on John Donne 's The Metaphysical School Of Poetry

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As one of the most prominent literary figures of the early seventeenth century, John Donne has engendered widely differing views regarding the merits of his work. His reputation stands on two distinct accomplishments: the witty, sensual love poetry of his early career and the serious, devout religious writing of his later career as the Dean of St. Paul 's. Donne 's poetry was influential enough to be considered the basis of the metaphysical school of poetry, as characterized by later writers such as Richard Crashaw, Abraham Cowley, and George Herbert. Although religious study and spiritual seeking were significant parts of Donne 's writing life, his best-known works are his love poems. The poems classified as Songs and Sonets in particular are good examples of the literary school later associated with Donne, that of the metaphysical poets of the mid-seventeenth century. “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” is in this group, as well as “The Canonization,” “The Extasie,” and “The Flea.” These poems exhibit the provocative subjects and innovative language for which Donne would later be both condemned and praised. Furthermore, the Elegies and Anniversaries have similar qualities. The Elegies are most often love poems characterized by sensual and even overtly lustful themes. The Anniversaries, however, are genuinely elegiac tributes to a young woman. Donne’s early poetry, sermons, and devotions are all studied today in order to understand the poet and his time. However, the…

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