Donne the Craftsman: An Essay upon the Structure of the Songs, and Sonets

Donne the Craftsman: An Essay upon the Structure of the Songs, and Sonets

Donne the Craftsman: An Essay upon the Structure of the Songs, and Sonets

Donne the Craftsman: An Essay upon the Structure of the Songs, and Sonets

Excerpt

In medieval epics the son often begot his father : of Guillaume au Court Nez, for instance, came Aimeri de Narbonne. A somewhat similar relationship (si parva magnis componere licet) obtains between the present essay on Donne and my book on Marvell. The study of the disciple led me to the study of the master. In a chapter of my larger work I introduced the first of the « metaphysical » poets to French readers who, by hypothesis, knew little or nothing about him. I therefore insisted on his most conspicuous and important characteristics, his intensity of feeling, originality and subtlety of thought. So far I found myself in agreement with the criticism of to-day. But here, at the cost of an apparent contradiction, I submit to readers already familiar with Donne's poetry and conversant with the literature of the subject that the prevalent view is incomplete and unconsciously biassed, that there still remain unexplored regions in this varied personality. Looking at my demonstration a last time before I commit it to print, I feel more confident than ever that my main contention is right, but also realize that a much better exponent than myself would have been required to give it its full chance. The former part of this essay will prove, I fear, dull to most readers on account of . . .

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