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 ?
Over the course of the play Zoe reflects on her life and her condition through the details of the English language, especially the use of wit in the metaphysical poetry of John Donne, and continuously recites Donne's Holy Sonnet X, Death Be Not Proud.
5), are reminders that this was the age of the Christian metaphysical poetry of John Donne, Henry Vaughan and George Herbert.
In this era, poets such as the featured John Donne, Andrew Marvell, George Herbert, Thomas Carew, and Henry Vaughan created a new form of verse: metaphysical poetry, which examined both closely held religious feelings and the pleasures of the body in a new light.
The essays in the volume are loosely grouped into mostly chronological sections that include the classical Greek and Roman and biblical legacies; medieval literature (devotional poetry and Chaucer); Shakespearean literature (Titus Andronicus and the Rape of Lucrece); metaphysical poetry (Donne and Herbert); Romantic poetry and Gothic drama (Helen Maria Williams and Joanna Baillie); nineteenth-century fiction, poetry, and autobiography; modernism (Joyce, Proust, Woolf, and Forster); fantasy literature (George MacDonald, C.
Even as later commentators celebrate what Johnson decried, they have often retained this sense that metaphysical poetry moves from body to soul and spirit, ultimately soaring up and over the world.
Eliot The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry, Selected Letters of William Empson edited by John Haffenden, Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion, and Hugh Kenner's achievement.
The French dolly denies having slept with the stars, no doubt lacking the energy after all those discussions with Terry about metaphysical poetry, global poverty and how to turn the kettle on.
CONTEMPORARY metaphysical poetry is the response to the dryness of the post-Christian world that many, including many Christians, believe we now inhabit.
Still, to echo Doctor Johnson on metaphysical poetry, to write this way it is at least necessary to read, and to think.
NEIL LENNON: Whenever I'm suspended or have some free time, I lose myself in the metaphysical poetry of John Donne or Aristotle's essays on deductive logic, that's when I'm not chilling to Bach's violin concertos, of course.
After all, the lodestars of his criticism are poets of the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries; in his Clark lectures, published as The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry, he drew a plumbline from Dante through Donne to Laforgue and, by implication, himself.