Thomas Traherne And George Herbert Essay

2168 Words Oct 31st, 2016 9 Pages
Thomas Traherne and George Herbert:
A Comparison and Contrast of the Two Metaphysical Poets.

Metaphysics. What does this word mean? Some readers might think it is a form of philosophy and they would be correct. However, that is not how Metaphysical poets received their name. It is actually as style incorporated by Thomas Traherne and George Herbert in the 16th and 17th century, and their works forever shaped how people in modern society view metaphysics in a universal manner. In order to understand and see the important influences of Thomas Traherne and George Herbert it is vital to have an understanding of metaphysical poetry to compare and contrast their backgrounds and written works of both poets.
To be clear, metaphysical poetry is completely different from metaphysical philosophy. Metaphysical poetry is best defined by Tetiana Riazantseva, “European and American scholars (J. Smith, H. White, J. Duncan et al.) used to classify metaphysical poetry as a ‘style’ with the accent on its connection with a certain era, its continuance and variability” (Riazantseva 136). A main characteristic of metaphysical poetry is a specific metaphor called, ‘the metaphysical conceit’. The ‘conceit’ is a parallel between two incompatible objects (The Editors of Encycolpedia of Britannia). For instance, in George Herbert’s The Man, he compares man’s body to the moon and ocean tides (Greenblatt 1715). It is common for metaphysical poetry to focus on subjects such as love and religion…

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