The Metaphysical Passion: Seven Modern American Poets and the Seventeenth-Century Tradition

By Sona Raiziss | Go to book overview
Save to active project

7 ANALOGIES

THAT CLIMACTERIC in human history which was the seventeenth century returns in our time with a greater and more general vehemence. Society and the individual live in the furious and common element of controversy. Like Donne, the indicative twentieth-century poet is at once highly self-conscious and objective. Yeats, D. H. Lawrence, Eliot, Auden, and Crane exhibit the adjacent contrasts of the material and the spiritual, the primitive and the subtle. The headlong temper of modern development has bred contradictions exacerbating those in the seventeenth century when "the uncomfortable antithesis of matter and mind in the Cartesian scheme seems to have made inevitable both the materialist and the idealist solutions."1England then grappled with philosophies, religions, revolutions, and restorations. Lately political and economic wars subsume religious considerations: republican Spain versus Catholicism, Nazi neopaganism versus Christianity, and Russian materialistic atheism.

There are critics of both periods who believe that the poets have been too little concerned with the movements of contemporaneous culture. It is true that the metaphysicals then and now have been highly subjective. Yet that very subjectivity has usually been caused by the pressure of events. The metaphysical penchant in many of these poets argues that they were fiercely aware of the restlessness of their age. The poets, indeed, were Cassandras of imminent clashes in thought, science, and public affairs. Their apprehension of impending events is in the very mood of their writing.

The Royalist poets rallied tangibly to their cause, witness Love

-103-

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.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
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.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Metaphysical Passion: Seven Modern American Poets and the Seventeenth-Century Tradition
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
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?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 332

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.

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.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?