Donne's Imagery: A Study in Creative Sources

By Milton Allan Rugoff | Go to book overview

II
THE NATURE OF THE EVIDENCE

In the preceding chapter I undertook to make clear the significance of imagery as a key to the creative imagination. It remains now to indicate by what methods it may be collected, classified, and made to yield its secrets. In these directions Professor Spurgeon has taken a number of important steps and her study of Shakespeare throws light at several points on the basic problems of the approach to creative sources through the content of imagery. We are dealing, however, with the pure stuff of imagination, with materials as peculiar to each writer as his personality; and we may expect each to present new problems and require vital adaptations in approach and procedure.

The first step, the actual collection of images, necessitates a moment's consideration of the scope of the term itself.* Since our main interest is in content and source, we may ignore almost completely the distinctions which have been set up among the various types of figures. Whether it be simile--

And yet no greater, but more eminent,
Love by the Spring in growne;
As, in the firmament,
Starres by the Sunne are not inlarg'd, but showne,

____________________
*
Of the books that have been written on this question and on images in general, almost all seem to have approached the subject for the purpose of adding to or clarifying the distinctions between the various types of figures--a very interesting point of departure but not basically relevant to this study. See, for example, Henry W. Wells' Poetic Imagery, Columbia University Press, New York, 1924, and Stephen J. Brown The World of Imagery, Kegan Paul, London, 1927.

-20-

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Donne's Imagery: A Study in Creative Sources
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 5
  • Acknowledgment 7
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 11
  • I - The Image and Its Significance 13
  • II - The Nature of the Evidence 20
  • III - III 29
  • IV - Medicine and Alchemy 47
  • V - Geometry and the Circle 64
  • VI - Law Courts and Prisons 74
  • VII - Religion and the Bible 83
  • VIII - Myth and Classical Story 96
  • IX 103
  • X - Domestic Life 113
  • XI - Sports and Games 125
  • XIII - Commerce and Coinage 144
  • XIV - King, State, and War 151
  • XV - Metals and Substances 163
  • XVI - Men and Characteristics 169
  • XVIII - The Heavens 195
  • XIX - Rivers and Seas 201
  • XX - Animals--Real and Fabulous 207
  • Conclusion 215
  • XXI - Comparisons and Interpretations 217
  • Appendix - Table of Sources 247
  • Key to Abbreviation Used in References To Donne's Works 249
  • References to Donne's Works 250
  • Index 267
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