John Donne and the Seventeenth-Century Metaphysical Poets

By Harold Bloom | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Donne: The Imaging
of the Logical Conceit

This essay will attempt to indicate alternating conceptions of the problem of poetic wit or conceit in Donne's erotic poetry, and to investigate an instance in the religious poetry in which that problem and the range of its versions are suspended: Donne's exhortation to "true religion," Satire 3. At the outset I should state that the long-standing dispute as to whether Donne's extraordinary displays of figuration prove him a member of the Petrarchan and self-consciously rhetorical traditions in poetry, or the master of a purely personal style, is one that Donne's poetry in particular, and poetry of less obvious linguistic sophistication in general, appears to me to prove moot. In her seminal study of the image patterning of Elizabethan and Metaphysical poetry, Rosemund Tuve redresses the singular emphasis of "modern criticism" upon the poet's personal experience by demonstrating the salience of logical and rhetorical concerns in the poetic practices and theoretical poetics of the English Renaissance. Her insistence, that an exclusive focus upon individual sensory perceptions is not only particularly unsuited to the study of the poets of Donne's time (who were routinely trained in formal argument) but would also be hard pressed to account for the poetry of our own era, comes closest to the view held in this investigation of the unfruitful, if not foolish, dissociation of poetry, shaped by any single "sensibility," from its traditionally recognized "sister arts":

In much modern criticism which assumes that Metaphysical

From ELH 49, no. 4 ( Winter 1982). © 1982 by The Johns Hopkins University Press.


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
Cite this page

Cited page

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
John Donne and the Seventeenth-Century Metaphysical Poets


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
/ 274

matching results for page

Cited passage

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?