John Donne: A Collection of Critical Essays

By Helen Gardner | Go to book overview

Introduction

by Helen Gardner

The essays collected here cover the years from 1896 to 1960 and include the years entre deux guerres during which Donne enjoyed a higher reputation and a greater popularity than at any time since the thirty years following the first publication of his poems. An older reader of these essays, aware of this as a fact of his own experience, may well feel puzzled at the absence of any essay in which the case for regarding Donne as providing a "norm" of excellence in English poetry is argued. He will find a certain number of essays in which this point of view is being contested and he may well ask who were the writers and critics whose extravagant praise J. E. V. Crofts and C. S. Lewis are attempting to correct, and where, if not here, can he find essays which will sum up the intense enthusiasm for Donne's poetry which the young of both sexes felt in the Twenties and Thirties of this century. I must own that I have been surprised at the difficulty of finding any essay in which this view is argued at length, rather than taken for granted or opposed. I had not realized, until I came to make this collection, that I should find little beyond scattered sentences and odd paragraphs to support the statement that from 1921, the year of Mr. T. S. Eliot's review of Grierson's anthology of metaphysical poetry, to the middle Forties it was largely taken for granted among literary persons, by many university teachers, and, I should say, by the majority of undergraduates that Donne was a more interesting and significant poet than Milton, and that in him English poetry reached a kind of high-water mark. To print a volume of twentieth century essays on Donne in which this view is not fully represented seems like presenting Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. I can only assure my readers that it is not the result of a deliberate policy of exclusion, but of my failure to discover a worthy written monument of what memory tells me was a pervasive "orthodox" view.1

It was held equally strongly that Donne's greatness was a discovery of the twentieth century after over two hundred years of neglect. Here again, although scholarship can correct the view that Donne was unread in the

____________________
1
For an extended discussion of changes in the reputation of Donne see Joseph E. Duncan , The Revival of Metaphysical Poetry ( University of Minnesota Press, 1959).

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
John Donne: A Collection of Critical Essays
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 186

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.