John Donne - A2 - Critical Quotes

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  • Created on: 05-01-13 16:01

John Donne - Criticism

John Carey

John Donne: Life, Mind and Art

Donne’s love of paradox two traditional faces: love poet and religious supplicant.

“The first thing to remember about Donne is that he was a Catholic; the second, that he betrayed his faith.”


On Satire III

-          “His father had been a Catholic”

-          “he assumes that his father is in heaven”

-          “there is only one true religion”

-          “the argument of the poem would appear to be over before it has begun.”

On The Apparition

-          “The complexities are not riddles to be solved, but natural and unresolvable, like living.”

“He treats argument not as an instrument for discovering truth but as a flexible poetic accessory

“Argument, he impresses on us, is at the service of the will.”

Angels, mummy, mandrakes, maps, coins, and shadows, “they are meeting places for opposites.

Dennis Flynn

Donne the Survivor

“I propose that we describe Donne not as an “apostate” or as a “blasphemer” but simply as a “survivor” of the Elizabethan persecution.”

Donne is a victim of trauma.

Herbert Grierson

“Donne would not have become a Protestant in a Catholic country.”

Roger B. Rollin

Describes Carey as a ‘psychobiological critic’ for his reading of, “the Holy Sonnets as if each poem were a versified treatment of an actual event in Donne’s psychological life”.

John Stachniewski

The Persecutory Imagination

Post-structuralist & New Historicist

“Religious despair was…


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