Seven Metaphysical Poets: A Structural Study of the Unchanging Self

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Overview


Robert Ellrodt's study of seven poets--springing from his wide-ranging three-volume work, Les Poètes métaphysiques anglais--challenges the postmodernist assumption that no definite or constant self can be traced in the works of a writer. Distinct modes of self-awareness, different emphases in the perception of time and space, and various ways of grasping the sensible and the spiritual, the human and the divine, jointly or separately characterize the minds of Donne and George Herbert, Crashaw and Vaughan, Lord Herbert, Marvell, and Traherne. Fundamental mental structures affect their attitudes to love, death, and God, and dictate their privileged modes of composition and expression.

Without neglecting the relations between these individual traits and the general evolution of thought from classical antiquity to the Renaissance, or the immediate cultural environment in which each poet wrote, this critical study maintains the primacy of individual choice, of the "unchanging self." The book is not based on a theory, but on a close scrutiny of the characteristic interplay of personal modes of thought and sensibility.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198117384
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Editions and References
Introduction
Part I: Modes of Self-Awareness
John Donne: Self-Oriented Self-Consciousness
George Herbert: God-Oriented Self-Consciousness
Richard Crashaw: The Surrender of Self
Andrew Marvell: Elusiveness and Reflexivity
Edward Lord Herbert and Thomas Traherne: from Self-Reflexivity to Solipsism?
Part II: Time, Space, and World
John Donne
George Herbert and Henry Vaughan
Richard Crashaw
Andrew Marvell and Edward Herbert
Thomas Traherne
Part III: Modes of Religious Sensibility and Modes of thought
John Donne and Bifold Natures
George Herbert and Richard Crashaw: Two Versions of the Christian Paradox
Henry Vaughan: Supernatural Naturalism
Andrew Marvell and Edward Herbert: The Dualistic Approach
Thomas Traherne: Sensuous Idealism
Part IV: Historical Landmarks
The Slow Emergence of Self-Consciousness
New Perceptions of Time and Space
Change and the Donne Generation
Conclusion
Index

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