COS'E' LA POESIA METAFISICA
Metaphysical poetry.General features. The Metaphysical poets were a group of writers of the 17th century, whose leader was John Donne, that reflected the crisis of their age through a new way of writing. The phrase “Metaphysical poetry”, which identifies the literary production of this period, was created later and could be misleading: in fact in its literal meaning it concerns with the main problems of nature, universe and man’s life. Although Metaphysical poetry can’t be considered a real literary movement, the poets who wrote during this period had some common features: they were men of “wit”, that was the capacity of dealing with lots of subjects, such as geography, alchemy, natural science, medicine and so on. Besides they made a large use of the “conceit”, a particular kind of metaphor whose language was much more difficult and rich of latinisms and archaic words. Through the choice of a style so difficult and elevated, the poets tried to pin down what seemed ungraspable. Dramatic element are one of the most important characteristic of their poems, basing on different verse- forms.
POESIA METAFISICA SIGNIFICATO
During the 18th century these poets and their art were obscured by the success of the Enlightenment. Their importance was revalued only by a modern writer, Thomas Eliot, who understood that their way of writing was deeply influenced by the crisis of that period.
Two Metaphysical poets: John Donne and John Milton
John Donne. Life - John Donne was born a few years after Shakespeare. His parents were both Catholic, so the education he received allowed him to have a perfect knowledge of Latin and Greek. His literary career started with the composition of some love lyrics and satires, which had a great success among his circle of friends. When an expedition against Spain was organised, he decided to leave as a volunteer: so he experienced lots of adventures and when came back to England found in front of himself the prospect of a successful political career. He ruined his bright future by marring a sixteen- years- old, who gave him twelve children.
From now he lived in poverty and illness and decided to take the holy orders: soon he became Dean of St Paul’s, but above all one of the most admired preachers of London, whose sermons attracted big crowds of people from every corner of the town.
• Main works
Donne’s sermons became immediately famous, while his literary production was little known outside the circle of his friends: his importance as a poet was known only after his death.
This production includes:
1. Songs and Sonnets;
4. Divine Poems;
5. Sermons or Meditations.
• Unconventional poetry
Donne was an innovator, who sacrificed melody, courtly grace and mythological references in order to create a new way of writing, based on two things: “wit” and “conceit”. This choice refers to style, imagery, language and form.