metaphysical poets

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metaphysical poets,

name given to a group of English lyric poets of the 17th cent. The term was first used by Samuel Johnson (1744). The hallmark of their poetry is the metaphysical conceit (a figure of speech that employs unusual and paradoxical images), a reliance on intellectual wit, learned imagery, and subtle argument. Although this method was by no means new, these men infused new life into English poetry by the freshness and originality of their approach. The most important metaphysical poets are John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Thomas Traherne, Abraham Cowley, Richard Crashaw, and Andrew Marvell. Their work has considerably influenced the poetry of the 20th cent.


See studies by H. C. White (1936, repr. 1962), J. F. Bennett (3d ed. 1964), H. Gardner, ed. (1967), G. Williamson (1967), P. Beer (1972), P. Grant (1974), and M. DiCesare, ed. (1988).

References in periodicals archive ?
Sparkling like diamonds, I see Shakespeare, the metaphysical poets, the Romantics, and early twentieth-century classics.
5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Way back in the 17th century, John Donne, English attorney, cleric and preeminent representative of the metaphysical poets, wrote: "Sleep is pain's easiest salve, as doth fulfill all offices of death, except to kill.
On these and similar occasions the reader may think "his improvement dearly bought," as Johnson says of the metaphysical poets.
The Metaphysical Poets is an audiobook anthology of groundbreaking poetry of the seventeenth century.
The collection includes several challenges and responses to religious feeling written in a contemporary voice but with a tone familiar to those who read the Metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century (although McHugh often quotes Dante).
He discusses themes from contemporary authors such as Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) and metaphysical poets such as George Herbert--even citing Herbert's poem "Love.
includes such terms as carpe diem, metaphysical poets, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Aphra Behn, Jonathan Swift, Paradise Lost, The Hind and the Panther, elegy, and ballad, in alphabetical order.
THE greatest of the metaphysical poets (a loose term for a group of 17th century poets whose work investigated the world using intellect rather than intuition, apparently).
Which is fine with Bearing, herself a scholar of John Donne and the metaphysical poets.
Many critics compare her work to the great metaphysical poets of the 17th century.
She lists prayers and poems that might very well be beginnings of material for teaching a course on the post-World War II metaphysical poets.
When Johnson writes that the Metaphysical poets are "not successful in representing or moving the affections;' we think of Donne's "Nocturnal upon St.