Change and the Donne Generation

Robert Ellrodt

in Seven Metaphysical Poets

Published in print May 2000 | ISBN: 9780198117384
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670923 | DOI:
Change and the Donne Generation

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New attitudes and a new style characterized the poetry of John Donne, who often took the lead in innovation and distinctly expressed his own personality as well as the temper and dominant inclinations of his own generation. The poets of the Donne generation rejected the floridness, mellifluousness, and melodiousness of ‘golden’ verse and ‘sugared’ sonnets. The search for manly attitudes and the ‘manly style’, related to a search for truth and meaning, was, indeed, the dominant trend in the Donne generation. It accounts for the change of mood and expression in love poetry. In literary expression a desire of change for the sake of change (a desire paraded in Donne's elegy so entitled) was a prominent feature of this generation. In their cult of wit the poets of the Donne generation were interested in new forms of wit, displayed in the epigram, the paradox, and the rhetorical figures that create surprise and call for a quick apprehension of thought.

Keywords: John Donne; English poetry; love poetry; epigram; paradox; wit

Chapter.  6174 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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