John Donne: His Flight from Mediaevalism

By Michael Francis Moloney | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE MIND OF DONNE: THE NEW SCIENCE

THAT DONNE'S spiritual history is indissolubly knit with the development of his artistic career and that his artistic career is a type and a symbol of that vast and startling transformation whereby the Mediaevalism of sixteenth century English letters became the modernism of the seventeenth century--on these points I shall insist again and again. Before Donne, most of English poetry is tinctured with the thought and feeling of the Middle Ages--is in truth mediaeval in all that reflects its essential attitude toward the great underlying problems of human belief and human conduct. After Donne, English poetry is essentially modern in its rejection of the solutions which the Middle Ages had evolved for those same problems. He bridges the gap between the Elizabethans and Milton, catching, fleetingly, an echo or an odor of the older epoch, but his face is turned in the direction of the grim and sightless Titan under whose shadow three centuries and a half of subsequent literary tradition still rests. For John Donne is, in a very real sense, the first of the moderns in the world of letters as Bacon is the first of the moderns in the world of ideas.

But while Donne is the first of the moderns in the world of letters, it would be a fallacy to attempt to study him through the glass of the present. Epochs wax and wane and the life of man is but a moment, whereas such sweeping changes in habits of thinking as came over the western world in the seventeenth century were long in preparation and could not be effected in a year or in a decade. The human mind is naturally conservative, relinquishing slowly ideas which it has acquired through the passing of centuries, and the new attitudes and new beliefs which are subsumed during the period of change are in themselves, inevitably, a mingling of the fading and the crescent ages. Particularly was this true as Mediaevalism yielded before the advancing tread of Modernism. Humanism and the Renaissance were not born Pallas-like from the brain of a time-bestriding Zeus; rather as Burdach says, "Durch starke Fäden hängen sie mit dem Mittelalter zusammen, das sehr langsam, eigentlich erst im 17. Jahrhundert, wirklich überwunden wird."1

____________________
1
Konrad Burdach, Reformation, Renaissance, Humanismus, Berlin: Verlag von Gebrüder Paetel, 1918, p. 143.

-47-

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
John Donne: His Flight from Mediaevalism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword 7
  • Contents 11
  • Chapter I - The Life and Times 13
  • Chapter II - The Mind of Donne: the New Science 47
  • Chaptep III - Mediaeval Synthesis and Renaissance Dichotomy 69
  • Chapter IV - Donne and the Rival Idealisms 105
  • Chapter V - The Heart of the Struggle 129
  • Chapter VI - Donne's Mysticism 165
  • Chapter VII - In the Wake of Donne 196
  • Chapter VIII - Summary 210
  • Bibliography 214
  • Index 220
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen
/ 224

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.