John Donne: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 2

By A. J. Smith; Catherine Phillips | Go to book overview
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Henry Morley


Professor Henry Morley (1822-94), of University College London, gave a brief account of Donne in a general outline of English literature (A First Sketch of English Literature (1873), 1896, pp. 527-9).

[Most of Morley's sketch inaccurately summarizes Donne's life and career. His few critical observations are perfunctorily patronizing. An Anatomy of the World (first published in 1625, he says) generally offers a specimen of artificial diction, though it also]

contains by rare chance one conceit rising in thought and expression to the higher level of Elizabethan poetry.

[He quotes lines 226-47 of The Second Anniversary.]

[Donne's 'lighter poems' display the 'unreality of a style that sacrifices sense to ingenuity', 'The Flea' is]

an ingenious piece, of which the sense is, so far as it has any, that a woman's honour is not worth a flea.

[Donne himself]

was unquestionably a man with much religious earnestness, but he was also a poet who delighted men of fashion.


Rosaline Orme Masson


Rosaline Orme, wife of David Masson, shared her husband's interest in Scottish history, publishing a Short History of Scotland as well as a book on Edinburgh, and biographical sketches of eminent Scots. They also both published books on English


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John Donne: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 2
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