Donne's Imagery: A Study in Creative Sources

By Milton Allan Rugoff | Go to book overview

XXI
COMPARISONS AND INTERPRETATIONS

Although the very distribution and arrangement of the material in the preceding chapters is its own comment and although I have sought even in passing to make clear the significance of much of that material, we have still to see what all this means in the total picture of Donne the writer. We have still, too, to make adequate use, by way of comparisons, of the interesting image data on Shakespeare and other Elizabethans furnished by Professor Spurgeon's investigations.*

Although we cannot help being interested in the light which imagery can cast on biography, we must expect, of course, that the analysis of what Donne's imagery can tell us concerning the man himself will be far less profitable and satisfying than the study of what it contributes to his writing. Concerning the latter we can make thorough- going and definitive decisions; concerning the former we must remember that although imagery in a unique store- house of subtle revelations of mind and personality it shares the natural limitations of creative writing in that such revelations are likely to be unsystematic and incomplete.

____________________
*
In all such comparisons I have tried to make allowances for the differences in classification between Professor Spurgeon's system and mine. The most important of these are her treatment of "Domestic" and "Body" images as entities separate from "Daily Life," "Personifications" as separate from "Body" and part of a group of images called "Imaginative," sickness and its treatment as a part of "Body" images, and ships as a part of "Nature" imagery.

It should also be noted that such comparisons are based on proportionate relationships within each writer's imagery, since, for example, Professor Spurgeon's conclusions concerning Shakespeare are founded on about 7,300 images, mine concerning Donne on about 2,300.

-217-

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