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|Title:||The Diversity of John Donne's Songs and Sonnets|
|Authors:||McCallion, Beulah Jean|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>It is the purpose of this thesis, The Diversity of John Donne's Songs and Sonnets, to attempt to explain the diversity of these love-lyrics by means of a detailed grouping of the lyrics related to the categories of the contemporary drama in order to assess their coherent imaginative viewpoints. The fifty-four poems of Helen Gardner's classification are categorized by groups or genres, rather than by theme or form, or both, with the express purpose of showing the various ways in which Donne handles the same theme. In Donne's interpretation of the theme of death, for instance, the death of love can be a satiric comedy, but the mimic death for love' sake, or the fictional/actual death of a mistress is in the form of a tragedy. Also, a miracle of love can be a spiritual love between a man and a woman, or it can mean an ecstatic physical and spiritual union of lovers. Probably the best example of the diversity of Donne's lyrics, however, is to be found within his songs, for they can be ribald and insolent, quaintly humorous, or gentle and thoughtful depending on the mood of the poet. Most of the songs are heroic, but not all, and they do not, therefore, fall under the same grouping in my scheme.<br /><br />A study of the lyrics along the lines outlined above reveals that Donne's originality is most striking in his redefinition of 'true' love: no longer can the courtly affectation of lovers be termed love because of its impractical idealism in the face of the overt sexuality of men and women. Donne defines 'true' love as a love that no more denigrates the body than it exalts the soul, for it is simultaneously a physical reality and a metaphysical construct. This is not to say that Donne is an iconoclast: he does not tear down; he refashions new models out of old materials. The Songs and Sonnets are not brooding meditations on the folly of desire, or the way of the world. If the real world is relevant" at all to these love-lyrics it is mostly in a metaphoric sense. The external world exists for Donne "in these poems not only in such imagery as an interfering friend, a group of school boys and apprentices, or suppliants after love's "pattern", but also in the paraphernalia from the Petrarchists' store of emblems, as well as concrete images from the world of the court, commerce and science which are the bedrock of his conceits. It is true that Donne's penchant for personification gives apparent form and substance to abstract qualities, but Donne shows that the complete world of reality for lovers lies within the lovers themselves, and they alone possess each other and this world which is also visionary. <br /><br />The dramatic element in Donne's Songs and Sonnets is pivotal to an understanding of its demonstrable appeal to an unseen or implied audience. The drama inherent in this poetry, however, is to be found in more than the use of a direct style, or a striking imagery; it resides in the drama of love itself whose truth of experience is revealed through the transforming power of the poet's vivid imagination which makes poetry out of personal experience.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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