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John Donne, one of the most famous Metaphysical Poets.
The metaphysical poets were a loose group of British lyric poets of the 17th century, who shared an interest in metaphysical concerns and a common way of investigating them, and whose work was characterised by inventiveness of metaphor (these involved comparisons being known as metaphysical conceits). These poets were not formally affiliated; most of them did not even know or read each other. Their poetry was influenced greatly by the changing times, new sciences and the new found debauched scene of the 17th century.
Contents [hide] * 1 Origin of the name * 2 Characteristics * 3 Critical opinion * 4 Metaphysical poets * 5 Notes and references * 6 Further reading * 7 External links |
Origin of the name
Poet and critic Samuel Johnson, who gave the school its now-used name.
In Life of Cowley (from Samuel Johnson’s 1781 work of biography and criticism Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets), Johnson refers to the beginning of the seventeenth century in which there “appeared a race of writers that may be termed the metaphysical poets”. This does not necessarily imply that he intended metaphysical to be used in its true sense, in that he was probably referring to a witticism of John Dryden, who said of John Donne: “He affects the metaphysics, not only in his satires, but in his amorous verses, where nature only should reign; and perplexes the minds of the fair sex with nice speculations of philosophy, when he should engage their hearts, and entertain them with the softnesses of love. In this . . . Mr. Cowley has copied him to a fault.” Probably the only writer before Dryden to speak of a certain metaphysical school or group of metaphysical poets is Drummond of Hawthornden(1585-1649), who in one of his letters speaks of.