new Philosophy cals all in doubt. (The First Anniversary)
To paraphrase Sapho, What shall we call Donne, then? Clearly (or rather, complicatedly) he is more than the masculine monolith which has become almost a casual observance in criticism of his poetry and prose.1 A. C. Partridge observes that 'any student who seeks to explicate the writings of Donne must be prepared to amend his [or her] judgments repeatedly' ( 1978: 11). There are certainly grounds for extending Donne's reputation for originality and iconoclasm to his construction of gender, especially in his exploration of lesbian love, his evocations of mutual love between men and women, and the fluidity of gender boundaries in poems such as the early verse letters. But where does this leave the feminine? Still, 'all in pieces'.
Lamenting Donne's general elusiveness, Judith Herz betrays her residual disappointment in settling for 'solace' in individual 'fragments' of Donne's work, and William Kerrigan suggests this____________________