7. The contrast in sensibility of Elizabethan poetry and Metaphysical poetry

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Last updated: December 12, 2019

Elizabeth I
1558 – 1603

Renaissance love poetry
– love = one of the most common subjects for R poetry (summit of human happiness, reward for the poet)- frankness in terms of having sex- carpe diem attitude (love is for the young)- neverending suffering in love- sonnet: given lines, structure anf form: artificial, limited

love poetry paradox
poetry is written in order to persuade women to have relationship, morals of the day valued virginity, chastity and faithfulness –> unrequited love- all sonnets extra-marital –> complaint of a fallen woman- an intellectual and artistic exercise (men ruled the world)

pastoral poetry
– set in idealised place, lovely calm countryside- optimistic tone- idealism, youth, innocence, naivety- carpe diem

metaphysical poetry
– strange and unusual metaphors (unalike objects put together)- intimate human relationships or physical erotic actions (from many perspectives)- transcedental aspect plus noble and ordinary (the same in language)- wit, satire, religious contemplations- unusual love poetry- full of innovativly provoking imagination- trying to be realistic about life- sense of cynism about the conventions of love

conceit
metaphor, similetwo uncomparable different things are compared

John Donne
-Love’s Alchemy, The Bait, The Flea- 1572 – 1631- provoking imagination, woman-lover, theatregoer- Catholic family –> Anglicanism –> priest of St.

Paul’s –> religious poetry- most famous for metaphysical poetry

Neo-platonists
try endlessly to discover spiritual love

Petrarchan sonnet
abbabbabcdcdcdSidney – platonic concept of unrequited love, martyr of love

Spenserian sonnet
ababbcbccdcdeeSpenser- courtship of an inaccessible lady

blazon
genre, celebration of lady’s body part by part

sonnet
higly formal genre, given number of lines and structure- show one’s poetic gift not feelings

Sir Philip Sidney
– soldier- sonnet sequence: Astropil and Stella – emotional, philosophical trappings- The Defense of poetry: defended poetry against puritan extremists

Sir Walter Ralegh
– favourite of queen-secretly married – imprisoned- falsely accused of conspiracy –> imprisoned (first volume of The Historie of the World)- Orinoco River – failure – beheaded- friendly criticism: experience, rationality, skepticism, cynicism

Edmund Spenser
– courtly poet, Ireland uprising, poverty- collection of Pastorals: The Shepheardes Calendar- Amoretti – 88 sonnets- The Faerie Queene (6 books) – allegorical epic, unfinished – virtues, chivalrous moral code (Spenserian stanza: 9iambic verses ababbcbcc

Shakespeare
– sonnets: challenge the traditional through their form, subject matter, imagery and tone- Dark lady- died 1616

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