The Man in the Name: Essays on the Experience of Poetry

The Man in the Name: Essays on the Experience of Poetry

The Man in the Name: Essays on the Experience of Poetry

The Man in the Name: Essays on the Experience of Poetry

Excerpt

It will possibly be of some service to the prospective reader to describe these essays beyond what their titles indicate. "Deception and Self-Deception in Shakespeare Henry IV" is an attempt to read a greater complexity and depth of meaning in the play (both parts) than has been generally allowed. This essay would have been longer if I had not discovered that several facets of my reading had already been made by D. A. Traversi (in his essay in Scrutiny) and by the late Harold Goddard (in The Meaning of Shakespeare). "Keats and the Music of Autumn" was written to express my admiration of To Autumn and because I felt that the poem has been peculiarly neglected in the recent comment and study that have been given to the other great odes. One of the purposes of the essay is to show how a single poem may illuminate and be illuminated by other poems of the same author--and also to show the continuity and wholeness of Keats' poetry.

"Donne's Poetry and Modern Criticism" is an argument with prevailing notions of Donne's poetry (and of metaphysical poetry) that have been fostered by Sir Herbert Grierson, T. S. Eliot, George Williamson, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and Cleanth Brooks. Much of the essay is given to analyses of the poems of Donne Songs and Sonets. Emerging from the analyses is a characterization of Donne's poetry which differs basically from the characterization which has been made familiar by modem criticism. "Fusion and Experience" is a recently composed sequel to the preceding essay. It is, on a modest scale, a critical history of ideas--and especially of the ideas, as they have operated in the criticism of Eliot and others, that metaphysical poetry contains a fusion of thought and feeling and that the metaphysical poets possessed a unified sensibility. A section of the essay is devoted to a discussion of poems of Donne and Marvell, with some considera-

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