Chapter

Thomas Traherne

Robert Ellrodt

in Seven Metaphysical Poets

Published in print May 2000 | ISBN: 9780198117384
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670923 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198117384.003.0011
Thomas Traherne

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Thomas Traherne lived in space rather than in time, for his mind took possession of space. His mode of composition and his style are in harmony with his imagination of space and time. A passion for infinity is a major trait of Traherne's imagination. The idea recurs throughout his writings, though even more insistently and at times naively in the early Select Meditations as if the repetition of the word itself was inebriating to him. The association of expansiveness and egocentricity is reflected in Traherne's recurrent use of the combined metaphor of the centre and the circumference. The poetic ‘world’ of Traherne is a world of contiguity without perspective. A bright-lit world with no alternation of day and night, or seasons. A world of nature unlike Henry Vaughan's, for it is a world without change, growth, or withering in its eternal present. Nor is it a world of hard materiality like John Donne's, or George Herbert's, or a world of fluidity like Richard Crashaw's. It is a world of things, elements, phenomena, conceptualized as objects of perception.

Keywords: Thomas Traherne; space; time; perception; imagination; infinity; egocentricity

Chapter.  9070 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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