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Metaphysical and Cavalier 17th century poetry - Essay Example

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Elizabethan age (1558-1603) is unanimously regarded as one of the most productive eras in the history of English Literature, which gave birth to outstanding urge to knowledge and learning in the fields of science, arts, philosophy and others…
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Metaphysical and Cavalier 17th century poetry
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Download file to see previous pages Elizabethan age (1558-1603) is unanimously regarded as one of the most productive eras in the history of English Literature, which gave birth to outstanding urge to knowledge and learning in the fields of science, arts, philosophy and others. It is also the case with literary growth that observed unabated progress by the end of 16th and beginning of 17th century, during which the divergent schools of thought appeared on the horizon of literary developments and left indelible imprints of their intellect and creativity on the future generations to come. On the one side, the great William Shakespeare was there to engrave the most magnificent works of his life, and on the other side, different new schools of thought rose to the occasion to introduce innovative dimensions of creativity by dint of their superb observation, distinctive imagination and illustrious talent; the Cavalier and Metaphysical poets are the most prominent ones in this regards. The title Cavalier school was first suggested to the poets belonging to early 17th century, which either had rendered services in support of the Crown (i.e. King Charles I) during the civil war, or had been attached to the royal court in one way or the other. Hence, these poets, with the exception of Herrick, had unflinching allegiance, fidelity and dedication to the royalty, and appeared to be ready to offer services and sacrifices in the Crown’s name...
(Skelton, 1960) Like the ‘metaphysical’, the title ‘cavalier’ does not look apposite, for all the followers of Ben Jonson were not the royalists in the true sense of the word; nor were all of these poets the followers of Jonson only. Rather, some of them also imitated Donne’s poetic style and followed them while depicting their imagination in the form of poetry. (Mullik, 2002) Though the critics aptly include Herrick, Carew, Suckling, Townshend, Cartwright, Randolph, Habington, Fanshawe, Waller and Lovelace in the list of Cavalier poets, as all the poets belonging to this school appear to seek inspiration from Jonson and imitated the same characteristics and style while creating their verses, yet they exclude the most important figure i.e. Ben Jonson from the category of Cavalier. It is partly due to the very fact that Jonson had died before the Civil War broke out in 1642, yet he had vehemently admired and supported James I and the royal cause through his services, plays and poems at large. Somehow, affiliation with royalty was not the distinguished feature associated with the Cavaliers. On the contrary, the common factor that binds the cavaliers together is their use of direct and colloquial language, expressive of a highly individual personality, and their enjoyment of the casual, the amateur, the affectionate poem written by the way. (Skelton, 1960) Thus, the Cavaliers broke away with the tradition of abstemiousness by replacing it with ostentation while creating the poetry. Not only had this that they promoted informal style in literature, but also applied the philosophical mode attributed to their contemporary metaphysical ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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