John Donne: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 2

By A. J. Smith; Catherine Phillips | Go to book overview

132.

Stuart Petre Brodie Mais

1921

S.P.B. Mais (1885-1975) worked for radio and television, was a schoolmaster, novelist and freelance journalist and became Professor of English at the RAF Cadet College. He was an amazingly prolific witer, on subjects from literature to travel and wildlife. In a collection of essays on English and European authors, he gave a brief account of Donne (Why We Should Read, 1921, pp. 51-7).

[The avowed aim of Mais's essays is to introduce these authors to new readers by communicating the pleasure of reading them. Mais scorns the idea of critical judgement; yet he rounds up opinions of Donne's writing, from Walton to the modern commentators such as Saintsbury, Pearsall Smith, Rupert Brooke, Robert Lynd. He quotes highlights of the sermons, culled from Pearsall Smith, and the customary beauties from the Songs and Sonnets and Anniversaries. He offers the view that Donne is important as a poet]

because he treats of the universal passion of love in more phases than any other poet. He was the complete experimentalist in love, both in actual life and in his work. He is frankly in search of bodily experience.

[Then follows a string of illustrations from the Elegies and Songs and Sonnets, with simple descriptive comments. Mais occasionally ventures an observation of his own: 'There is a good deal of frank naturalism in the elegy entitled 'To His Mistress Going to Bed', but it is healthily coarse, though scarcely quotable in these times, which is a pity. He offers his impression that all Donne's experimenting in love came together in the end in 'an abiding love for one person, Ann More, his wife'. He quotes bits of 'The Ecstasy', the Anniversary, 'Break of Day', and 'The Dream', supposedly to attest this love. Then he essays a balanced recommendation.]

There is enough nastiness, eccentricity, coarseness, roughness and extravagance in Donne to put off many fastidious readers: but his faults lie open to the sky: his beauties are frequently hidden, but

-451-

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John Donne: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor's Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Note on the Text xiv
  • Introduction xv
  • 1. - Henry Morley 1
  • 3. - William Minto 3
  • 5. - Alice King 15
  • 9. - Edmund Gosse 24
  • 11. - George Edward Bateman Saintsbury 26
  • 13. - Margaret Woods 31
  • 15. - W.F. Collier 50
  • 17. - Gamaliel Bradford 52
  • 21. - Sir Edmund Kerchever Chambers 70
  • 25. - George Edward Bateman Saintsbury 89
  • 29. - Thomas Bird Mosher 102
  • 31. - Augustus Jessopp 105
  • 32. - Anon., Academy 108
  • 35. - Henry Augustin Beers 115
  • 44. - Francis Thompson 180
  • 46. - Anon., Academy 184
  • 48. - Anon., Nation 187
  • 52. - Anon., Quarterly Review 206
  • 59. - Rudolf Richter 221
  • 69. - Charles Eliot Norton 249
  • 73. - Martin Grove Brumbaugh 254
  • 74. - Charles Crawford 255
  • 76. - Herbert John Clifford Grierson 259
  • 79. - Alfred Horatio Upham 272
  • 83. - Janet Spens 295
  • 84. - Phoebe Anne Beale Sheavyn 302
  • 85. - William Macdonald Sinclair 303
  • 89. - Herbert John Clifford Grierson 317
  • 93. - Evelyn Mary Simpson (Née Spearing) 352
  • 94. - Anon., Nation 353
  • 95. - Felix E. Schelling 356
  • 97. - Rupert Brooke 359
  • 100. - Ernest Percival Rhys 370
  • 102. - Sir Sidney Colvin 390
  • 106. - David Macleane 395
  • 107. - Ezra Pound 396
  • 118. - Logan Pearsall Smith 410
  • 126. - Louise Imogen Guiney 432
  • 128. - Herbert John Clifford Grierson 437
  • 132. - Stuart Petre Brodie Mais 451
  • 134. - Elbert Nevius Sebring Thompson 453
  • 137. - William Butler Yeats 457
  • 138. - Robert Seymour Bridges 458
  • Appendix A. 463
  • Appendix B. 467
  • Appendix C: 474
  • Index 475
  • The Critical Heritage Series 502
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