John Donne: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 2

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

89.

Herbert John Clifford Grierson

1912

Grierson published his magisterial edition of Donne's poems in two volumes, being the first of Donne's editors to aim for an authentic text of the poems by an analytic comparison of all the early manuscripts and published versions which had then come to light. Grierson wrote later that he had realized in the 1890s the need for textual work on Donne such as commonly went into the editing of a classical text. He remarked that his interest in Donne had been aroused by the essays of Dowden and Minto, and the edition of Donne's poems by E.K. Chambers. 1

The new edition of Donne made such an impact that Grierson is sometimes credited with the modern rediscovery of Donne, and the year 1912 spoken of as a turning-point in English literary studies. Beyond doubt Grierson's work massively confirmed Donne's stature and furthered the serious study of his poetry, as well as preparing the ground for all future work on the text of the poems.

In the second volume of his edition Grierson essayed a long introduction to the poems, and commentary upon them, whose tenor is markedly more conservative than his editorial approach. Yet he did initiate some ideas about Donne's poetry which would be developed in later criticism ('The Poetry of John Donne', The Poems of John Donne, 1912, vol. ii, pp. v-lv).

[Grierson begins by approving Courthope's account of 'Donne's position among English poets, regarded from the historical and what we like to call scientific point of view'.]

What we are shown is the connexion of 'metaphysical wit' with the complex and far-reaching changes in men's conception of Nature which make the seventeenth century perhaps the greatest epoch in human thought since human thinking began.

[He judges that Courthope 'has probably said the last word' on the subject of Donne's conceits. Then he goes on to trace the

-317-

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John Donne: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor's Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Note on the Text xiv
  • Introduction xv
  • 1. - Henry Morley 1
  • 3. - William Minto 3
  • 5. - Alice King 15
  • 9. - Edmund Gosse 24
  • 11. - George Edward Bateman Saintsbury 26
  • 13. - Margaret Woods 31
  • 15. - W.F. Collier 50
  • 17. - Gamaliel Bradford 52
  • 21. - Sir Edmund Kerchever Chambers 70
  • 25. - George Edward Bateman Saintsbury 89
  • 29. - Thomas Bird Mosher 102
  • 31. - Augustus Jessopp 105
  • 32. - Anon., Academy 108
  • 35. - Henry Augustin Beers 115
  • 44. - Francis Thompson 180
  • 46. - Anon., Academy 184
  • 48. - Anon., Nation 187
  • 52. - Anon., Quarterly Review 206
  • 59. - Rudolf Richter 221
  • 69. - Charles Eliot Norton 249
  • 73. - Martin Grove Brumbaugh 254
  • 74. - Charles Crawford 255
  • 76. - Herbert John Clifford Grierson 259
  • 79. - Alfred Horatio Upham 272
  • 83. - Janet Spens 295
  • 84. - Phoebe Anne Beale Sheavyn 302
  • 85. - William Macdonald Sinclair 303
  • 89. - Herbert John Clifford Grierson 317
  • 93. - Evelyn Mary Simpson (Née Spearing) 352
  • 94. - Anon., Nation 353
  • 95. - Felix E. Schelling 356
  • 97. - Rupert Brooke 359
  • 100. - Ernest Percival Rhys 370
  • 102. - Sir Sidney Colvin 390
  • 106. - David Macleane 395
  • 107. - Ezra Pound 396
  • 118. - Logan Pearsall Smith 410
  • 126. - Louise Imogen Guiney 432
  • 128. - Herbert John Clifford Grierson 437
  • 132. - Stuart Petre Brodie Mais 451
  • 134. - Elbert Nevius Sebring Thompson 453
  • 137. - William Butler Yeats 457
  • 138. - Robert Seymour Bridges 458
  • Appendix A. 463
  • Appendix B. 467
  • Appendix C: 474
  • Index 475
  • The Critical Heritage Series 502
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