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TitleClassicism vs Romanticism
TagsRomanticism Reason Good And Evil Poetry Epistemology
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John donne

1. Donne was the first English poet to challenge and break the supremacy of Petrarchan

2. Though at times he adopts the Petrarchan devices, yet his imagery and rhythm,
texture and colour of his love poetry is different. There are three distinct strains of
his love poetry – Cynical, Platonic and Conjugal love.

3. Donne’s greatness as a love-poet arises from the fact that this poetry covers a wider
range of emotions than that of any previous poet.

4. His poetry is not bookish but is rooted in his personal experiences. He had love
affairs with a number of women. Some of them were lasting and permanent, other
were only of a short duration.

5. Donne is quite original in presenting the love situations and moods.
6. The “experience of love” must produce a “sense of connection” in both the lovers.

This “sense of connection” must be based on equal urge and longing on both the

7. “The room of love” must be shared equally by the two partners.
8. Donne magnifies the ideal of “Sense of connection” into the physical fulfillment of


"My face in thine eyes thine in mime appears"
9. His love as expressed in his poetry was based not on conventions but on his own

experiences. He experienced all phase of love – platonic, sensuous, serene, cynical,
conjugal, illicit, lusty, picturesque and sensual. He could also be grotesque blending
thought with passion.

10.Another peculiar quality of Donne’s love lyrics is its “metaphysical strain”. His poems
are sensuous and fantastic. Donne’s metaphysical strain made his reader confused
his sincerity.

11.Donne is realistic not an idealistic. He knows the weakness of Flesh, the pleasure of
sex, the joy of secret meeting. However he tries to establish a relationship between
the body and the soul. Donne is very realistic poet.

12.Grierson distinguished three distinct strains in it. First there is the cynical strain.
Secondly, there is the strain f conjugal love to be noticed in poems like “valediction:
forbidding mourning”. Thirdly, there is platonic strain. The platonic strain is to b
found in poems like “Twicknam Garden”, “The Funeral”, “The Blossoms”, and “The
Primroses”. These poems were probably addressed to the high-born lady friends.
Towards them he adopts the helpless pose of flirtations and in high platonic vein
boasts that:

Different of sex no more we know
Than our Guardian Anglles doe

13.Hence the difficult nature of his poetry and the charge of obscurity have been
brought against him.

14.The fantastic nature of the metaphysical conceits and poetry would become clear
even we examine a few examples. In “Valediction: Forbidden Mourning” true lovers
now parted are likened to the legs of a compass. The image is elaborated at length.
The lovers are spiritually one, just as the head of the compass is one even when the

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legs are apart. One leg remains fixed and the other moves round it. The lover cannot
forget the beloved even when separated from her. The two loves meet together in
the end just as the two legs of the compass are together again, as soon as circle has
been drawn.

15.In Donne’s poetry, there is always an “intellectual analysis” of emotion. Like a clever
lawyer, Donne gives arguments after arguments in support of his points of view.
Thus in “Valediction: Forbidden Mourning” he proves that true lovers need not mourn
at the time of parting. In “Canonization” he establishes that lovers are saints of love
and in “The Blossome” he argues against the petrarchan love tradition. In all this
Donne is a realistic love poet.

Difference between Classicism, Neoclassicism and Romanticism?

1. Classicism:
Classicism is aesthetic attitudes and principles based on culture, art and
literature of ancient Greece and Rome, and characterized by emphasis on
form, simplicity, proportion, and restrained emotion. Characteristics of
Classicism are belief in reason, civilized, modern, sophisticated, interest in
urban society, human nature, love, satire, expression of acceptance, moral
truth, realism, beleif in good and evil, religion, philosophy, generic
obstruction, impersonal objectivity, public themes, formal correctness, idea of

Neo-classicism was the trend prevailing during the late 18th and early 19th
centuries, characterized by the introduction and widespread use of Greek
orders. The period of Neo-Classicism relies heavily on mimicking Greek art.
During the time period, the concept of naturalism was a main concern. Artists
especially made great efforts to model the ways in which the ancients
portrayed bodies and emotions in their works of art.

3. Romanticism:
Romanticism emerged as a reaction against Neoclassicism. The Neoclassical
age emphasized on reason and logic. The Romantic period wanted to break
away from the traditions and conventions that were dear to the Neoclassical
age and make way for individuality and experimentation. One of the
fundamentals of Romanticism is the belief in the natural goodness of man,
the idea that man in a state of nature would behave well but is hindered by

4. Characteristics of Romanticism are belief in feelings, imagination, Intuition,
Primitive, Medieval, natural modes, rural solitude, aesthetic, spiritual, value
of external nature, love for vision, mysteriousness, idea, infinite, myth-
making, beauty, truth, faith in progress, belief in man and goodness,

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