The Metaphysical Passion: Seven Modern American Poets and the Seventeenth-Century Tradition

By Sona Raiziss | Go to book overview

NOTES
INTRODUCTION
1. In this connection I submit a tentative graph to indicate the rise, fluctuation, and decline of critical interest in metaphysical verse manifested in this century. Studies concerning metaphysical poetry in general and thirteen seventeenth-century metaphysicals are plotted for every year from 1900 to 1950. See page 244.

The graph gives only approximate inferences. (About 1,500 items are used.) It presents merely a suggestive picture of the concern, in the last fifty years, with seventeenth-century metaphysical poetry and its outstanding exponents. Furthermore, the poets considered must always represent an arbitrary choice. This graph follows in most respects Theodore Spencer's invaluable bibliography of metaphysical studies. To his choice of the following twelve metaphysicals Quarles has been added: Carew, Cleveland, Cowley, Crashaw, Donne, Herbert of Cherbury, George Herbert, King, Marvell, Katherine Philips, Traherne, and Vaughan. An attempt has been made here to rectify some errors in dates (e.g.: T. O. Beachcroft's "Mysticism as Criticism," Symposium, II, No. 2, belongs to the year 1931 and not 1928 as listed by Spencer), inconsistencies, and omissions. (In his essay Spencer on p. 12 states that he has "omitted many shorter articles, as may be seen by a glance at the accompanying bibliography." Yet several articles longer than some of those included are neglected, e.g.: J. E. V. Crofts, "John Donne," Essays and Studies of the English Association, XXII, 128-43; A. C. Judson, "The Source of Henry Vaughan's Ideas Concerning God in Nature," Studies in Philology, XXIV, 592-606.) In accordance with his bibliography, I included reprints and new editions of the more significant studies because these demonstrate a quickening or continued interest in the subject. For instance, since the publication in 1921 of H. J. C. Grierson's Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the Seventeenth Century, there have been reprints in 1925, 1928, 1936, 1947; John Hayward's edition of Donne appeared in 1929, 1932, 1934, 1936, and 1949.

Most of the supplemental material is accounted for by the time extension in this graph: its scope being fifty years as against twenty-seven. Spencer studies the span from 1912 to 1938-which compasses the period of greatest activity in work on metaphysical poetry. But it should be noted that several critics and editors showed precocious response to the seventeenth century, for example: H. C. Beeching, G. H. Palmer, A. R. Waller, Bertram Dobell, Edmund Gosse, E. K. Chambers, Louise I. Guiney, George Saintsbury, and Professor Grierson, who published work on that period from 1906. At the other end of the graph are represented works after 1938, such as Austin Warren's study of Crashaw in 1939, a 1940 work on Marvell by M. C. Bradbrook and M. G. L. Thomas, F. E. Hutchinson's 1941 edition of Herbert,

-242-

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The Metaphysical Passion: Seven Modern American Poets and the Seventeenth-Century Tradition
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part One The Temper Of Metaphysical Poetry 1
  • 1- Definitions 3
  • 2- The Poets and Their Subjects 11
  • 3- Methods, Manner, and Mood 21
  • 4- Wit and the Objective Equivalent 35
  • Part Two Sources of The Metaphysical Impulse 57
  • 5- Time of Transition 59
  • 6- Seventeenth-Century Conflicts 79
  • 7- Analogies 103
  • 8- Twentieth-Century Tensions 114
  • 9- Phases of the Modern Crisis 133
  • Part Three Seven Poets: Text and Context 165
  • 10- T. S. Eliot 167
  • 11- The Fugitives 184
  • 12- Macleish-Wylie-Crane 212
  • Notes 242
  • Partial Bibliography Of Critical Works from 1900 293
  • Index of Names 319
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