A term coined by the poet and critic Samuel Johnson to describe a loose group of British lyric poets of the 17th century, whose work was characterized by the inventive use of conceits, and by speculation about topics such as love or religion. This does not necessarily imply that he intended metaphysical to be used in its true sense, in that he was probably referring to a witticism of John Dryden, who said of John Donne: "He affects the metaphysics, not only in his satires, but in his amorous verses, where nature only should reign; and perplexes the minds of the fair sex with nice speculations of philosophy, when he should engage their hearts, and entertain them with the softnesses of love.
Their style was characterized by:
1. The Metaphysical Poets are known for their ability to startle the reader and coax new perspective through paradoxical images, subtle argument, inventive syntax, and imagery from art, philosophy, and religion using an extended metaphor known as a conceit. Donne reached beyond the rational and hierarchical structures of the seventeenth century with his exacting and ingenious conceits, advancing the exploratory spirit of his time.
*British 18th century
An English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. Among Byron's best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems "Don Juan" and "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" and the short lyric "She Walks in Beauty." He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential. The most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, George Gordon, Lord Byron, was likewise the most fashionable poet of the day. He created an immensely popular Romantic hero—defiant, melancholy, haunted by secret guilt—for which, to many, he seemed the model. He is also a Romantic paradox: a leader of the era's poetic revolution, he named Alexander Pope as his master
Background "Don Juan":
Don Juan is a satiric poem by Lord Byron, based on the legend of Don Juan, which Byron reverses, portraying Juan not as a womaniser but as someone easily seduced by women. It is a variation on the epic form. Byron himself called it an "Epic Satire" (Don Juan, c. xiv, st. 99). Modern critics generally consider it Byron's masterpiece, with a total of more than 16,000 lines of verse.
*British 18th century (romantic poet)
John Keats, who died at the age of twenty-five, had perhaps the most remarkable career of any English poet. He published only fifty-four poems, in three slim volumes and a few magazines. But at each point in his development he took on the challenges of a wide range of poetic forms from the sonnet, to the Spenserian romance, to the Miltonic epic, defining anew their possibilities with his own distinctive fusion of earnest energy, control of conflicting perspectives and forces, poetic self-consciousness, and, occasionally, dry ironic wit. In the case of the English ode he brought its form, in the five great odes of 1819, to its most perfect definition.
Poem"A Thing of Beauty"
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.
*18th century (died in 1744)
Pope earned fame and great financial success as a poet, satirist, and translator. He is perhaps best remembered for his mastery of the heroic couplet, as in An Essay on Man and "The Rape of the Lock."
Excerpt "The Rape of the Lock":
WHAT dire Offence from am'rous Causes springs,
What mighty Contests rise from trivial Things,
I sing -- This Verse to C---, Muse! is due;
This, ev'n Belinda may vouchfafe to view:
Slight is the Subject, but not so the Praise,
If She inspire, and He approve my Lays.
Say what strange Motive, Goddess! cou'd compel
A well-bred Lord t'assault a gentle Belle?
Oh say what stranger Cause, yet unexplor'd,
Cou'd make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?
And dwells such Rage in softest Bosoms then?
And lodge such daring Souls in Little Men?
Pope's Pastorals, which he claimed to have written at sixteen, were published in Jacob Tonson's Poetical Miscellanies of 1710 and brought him swift recognition. Essay on Criticism, published anonymously the year after, established the heroic couplet as Pope's principal measure and attracted the attention of Jonathan Swift and John Gay, who would become Pope's lifelong friends and collaborators. Together they formed the Scriblerus Club, a congregation of writers endeavoring to satirize ignorance and poor taste through the invented figure of Martinus Scriblerus, who would serve as a precursor to the dunces in Pope's late masterpiece, the Dunciad. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/1566#sthash.rYWKUQ0f.dpuf
1712 saw the first appearance of the The Rape of the Lock, Pope's best-known work and the one that secured his fame. Its mundane subject—the true account of a squabble between two prominent Catholic families over the theft of a lock of hair—is transformed by Pope into a mock-heroic send-up of classical epic poetry. - See more at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/1566#sthash.rYWKUQ0f.dpuf
*18th century (romantic poet)
While Shelley shares many basic themes and symbols with his great contemporaries, he has left his peculiar stamp on Romanticism: the creation of powerful symbols in his visionary pursuit of the ideal, at the same time tempered by a deep skepticism. His thought is characterized by an insistence on taking the controversial side of issues, even at the risk of being unpopular and ridiculed. From the very beginning of his career as a published writer at the precocious age of seventeen, throughout his life, and even to the present day the very name of Shelley has evoked either the strongest vehemence or the warmest praise, bordering on worship. More than any other English Romantic writer, with the possible exception of his friend George Gordon, Lord Byron, Shelley's life and reputation have had a history and life of their own apart from the reputation of his various works.
Most famous work: "Ozymandias"
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".
*American 19th century (romantic poet)
American poet. The extensive use of dashes and unconventional capitalization in Dickinson's manuscripts, and the idiosyncratic vocabulary and imagery, combine to create a body of work that is "far more various in its styles and forms than is commonly supposed". Dickinson avoids pentameter, opting more generally for trimeter, tetrameter and, less often, dimeter. Sometimes her use of these meters is regular, but oftentimes it is irregular. The regular form that she most often employs is the ballad stanza, a traditional form that is divided into quatrains, using tetrameter for the first and third lines and trimeter for the second and fourth, while rhyming the second and fourth lines (ABCB).
Though Dickinson often uses perfect rhymes for lines two and four, she also makes frequent use of slant rhyme. In some of her poems, she varies the meter from the traditional ballad stanza by using trimeter for lines one, two and four, while only using tetrameter for line three.
*American 19th century (romantic/transcendentalist poet)
American poet, essayists and philosopher. In 1832 he sailed for Europe, visiting Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Carlyle, the Scottish-born English writer, was famous for his explosive attacks on hypocrisy and materialism, his distrust of democracy, and his highly romantic belief in the power of the individual. Emerson's friendship with Carlyle was both lasting and significant; the insights of the British thinker helped Emerson formulate his own philosophy. Known in the local literary circle as "The Sage of Concord," Emerson became the chief spokesman for Transcendentalism, the American philosophic and literary movement. Centered in New England during the 19th century, Transcendentalism was a reaction against scientific rationalism. Emerson's first book, Nature (1836), is perhaps the best expression of his Transcendentalism, the belief that everything in our world—even a drop of dew—is a microcosm of the universe. His concept of the Over-Soul—a Supreme Mind that every man and woman share—allowed Transcendentalists to disregard external authority and to rely instead on direct experience. "Trust thyself," Emerson's motto, became the code of Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and W. E. Channing. From 1842 to 1844, Emerson edited the Transcendentalist journal, The Dial.
Emerson wrote a poetic prose, ordering his essays by recurring themes and images. His poetry, on the other hand, is often called harsh and didactic. Among Emerson's most well known works are Essays, First and Second Series (1841, 1844). The First Series includes Emerson's famous essay, "Self-Reliance," in which the writer instructs his listener to examine his relationship with Nature and God, and to trust his own judgment above all others. Emerson's other volumes include Poems (1847)
Emerson's philosophy is characterized by its reliance on intuition as the only way to comprehend reality, and his concepts owe much to the works of Plotinus, Swedenborg, and Böhme. A believer in the "divine sufficiency of the individual," Emerson was a steady optimist. His refusal to grant the existence of evil caused Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry James, Sr., among others, to doubt his judgment.
In 1856 Emerson composed a lyric poem originally called "Song of the Soul" and later published in the Atlantic in 1857 under the title, "Brahma." The poem dramatizes an idea that Emerson closely associated with Hinduism; namely, that the material world is essentially an illusory mask of the divine spirit that dwells in all beings. Although it stands to reason that the poem is written from the perspective of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, or even Brahman, the absolute or universal soul, the speaker in the poem does not name itself. Instead, the speaker enumerates the ways in which it eludes characterization. The opening lines of the four-stanza verse exemplify the riddle-like quality of the poem as a whole:
If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.
*American 19th century (romantic poet)
An American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. As early as 1850, he began writing what would become Leaves of Grass, a collection of poetry which he would continue editing and revising until his death. Whitman intended to write a distinctly American epic and used free verse with a cadence based on the Bible.
Whitman's work breaks the boundaries of poetic form and is generally prose-like. He also used unusual images and symbols in his poetry, including rotting leaves, tufts of straw, and debris. He also openly wrote about death and sexuality, including prostitution. He is often labeled as the father of free verse, though he did not invent it. Whitman wrote in the preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, "The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it." He believed there was a vital, symbiotic relationship between the poet and society.This connection was emphasized especially in "Song of Myself" by using an all-powerful first-person narration. As an American epic, it deviated from the historic use of an elevated hero and instead assumed the identity of the common people. Leaves of Grass also responded to the impact that recent urbanization in the United States had on the masses.
"O Captain! My Captain!" excerpt
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack,
the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for
you the bugle trills,
"I Hear America Singing" exerpt
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
singing on the steamboat deck,
"The Three Bares"
Ma tried to wash her garden slacks but couldn't get 'em clean
And so she thought she'd soak 'em in a bucket o' benzine.
It worked all right. She wrung 'em out then wondered what she'd do
With all that bucket load of high explosive residue.
She knew that it was dangerous to scatter it around,
For Grandpa liked to throw his lighted matches on the ground.
Somehow she didn't dare to pour it down the kitchen sink,
And what the heck to do with it, poor Ma jest couldn't think.
*American 19th century (romantic poet) -died 1849
An American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.
Poe's best known fiction works are Gothic, a genre he followed to appease the public taste. His most recurring themes deal with questions of death, including its physical signs, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning.Many of his works are generally considered part of the dark romanticism genre, a literary reaction to transcendentalism,which Poe strongly disliked. He referred to followers of the latter movement as "Frog-Pondians", after the pond on Boston Common, and ridiculed their writings as "metaphor—run mad," lapsing into "obscurity for obscurity's sake" or "mysticism for mysticism's sake".Poe once wrote in a letter to Thomas Holley Chivers that he did not dislike Transcendentalists, "only the pretenders and sophists among them". Poe's writing reflects his literary theories, which he presented in his criticism and also in essays such as "The Poetic Principle". He disliked didacticism and allegory, though he believed that meaning in literature should be an undercurrent just beneath the surface. Works with obvious meanings, he wrote, cease to be art. He believed that work of quality should be brief and focus on a specific single effect. To that end, he believed that the writer should carefully calculate every sentiment and idea.
A favorite target of Poe's criticism was Boston's then acclaimed poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was often defended by his literary friends in what would later be called "The Longfellow War". Poe accused Longfellow of "the heresy of the didactic", writing poetry that was preachy, derivative, and thematically plagiarized. Poe correctly predicted that Longfellow's reputation and style of poetry would decline, concluding that "We grant him high qualities, but deny him the Future."
Most famous poem: "The Raven" (1845) excerpt
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.
English poet of the Romantic Movement. As one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. A collection of her last poems was published by her husband, Robert Browning, shortly after her death. Elizabeth opposed slavery and published two poems highlighting the barbarity of slavers and her support for the abolitionist cause: "The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point"; and "A Curse for a Nation". In "Runaway" she describes a slave woman who is whipped, raped, and made pregnant as she curses the slavers. Elizabeth declared herself glad that the slaves were "virtually free" when the Emancipation Act abolishing slavery in British colonies was passed in 1833, despite the fact that her father believed that Abolitionism would ruin his business.
"How Do I Love Thee?" (Sonnet 43) poem
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
*American 19th century
An American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", "The Song of Hiawatha," and "Evangeline." He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's "The Divine Comedy" and was one of the five Fireside Poets.
Though much of his work is categorized as lyric poetry, Longfellow experimented with many forms, including hexameter and free verse. His published poetry shows great versatility, using anapestic and trochaic forms, blank verse, heroic couplets, ballads and sonnets.Typically, Longfellow would carefully consider the subject of his poetic ideas for a long time before deciding on the right metrical form for it.Much of his work is recognized for its melody-like musicality.As he says, "what a writer asks of his reader is not so much to like as to listen." Longfellow often used didacticism in his poetry, though he focused on it less in his later years. Much of his poetry imparts cultural and moral values, particularly focused on promoting life as being more than material pursuits. Longfellow also often used allegory in his work. In "Nature", for example, death is depicted as bedtime for a cranky child. Many of the metaphors he used in his poetry as well as subject matter came from legends, mythology, and literature. after Poe's reputation as a critic increased, he publicly accused Longfellow of plagiarism in what has been since termed by Poe biographers as "The Longfellow War". His assessment was that Longfellow was "a determined imitator and a dextrous adapter of the ideas of other people",specifically Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Margaret Fuller judged him "artificial and imitative" and lacking force. Poet Walt Whitman also considered Longfellow an imitator of European forms, though he praised his ability to reach a popular audience as "the expressor of common themes - of the little songs of the masses". He added, "Longfellow was no revolutionarie: never traveled new paths: of course never broke new paths."Lewis Mumford said that Longfellow could be completely removed from the history of literature without much effect.Towards the end of his life, contemporaries considered him more of a children's poet as many of his readers were children.
When "Paul Revere's Ride" was written in 1860, America was on the verge of Civil War. Longfellow first came forward publicly as an abolitionist in 1842 with the publication of his Poems on Slavery. Though he admitted the book made little impact, it was written for his best friend, Charles Sumner, an activist abolitionist politician with whom he would continue to share common cause on the issues of slavery and the Union. The poem was published in the January, 1861, issue of the The Atlantic magazine on December 20, 1860, just as South Carolina became the first state to secede from the United States. "Paul Revere's Ride" was meant to appeal to Northerners' sense of urgency and, as a call for action, noted that history favors the courageous.
Poem: "Paul Revere's Ride" excerpt
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
*American 19th century
An American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist.He is best known for his book" Walden," a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. Thoreau's political writings had little impact during his lifetime, as "his contemporaries did not see him as a theorist or as a radical, viewing him instead as a naturalist. They either dismissed or ignored his political essays, including Civil Disobedience. The only two complete books (as opposed to essays) published in his lifetime, Walden and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), both dealt with nature, in which he loved to wander."
"I Was Made Erect and Lone" poem
I was made erect and lone,
And within me is the bone;
Still my vision will be clear,
Still my life will not be drear,
To the center all is near.
Where I sit there is my throne.
If age choose to sit apart,
If age choose, give me the start,
Take the sap and leave the heart.
*American 19th century
An American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He became one of America's rare "public literary figures, almost an artistic institution."  He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 for his poetical works.
"The Road Not Taken" poem
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
*American 20th century
An American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 2,900 poems, two autobiographical novels, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings. Many of his poems are sonnets, albeit often with a modern twist, and he occasionally made use of the blues form and acrostics. Cummings's poetry often deals with themes of love and nature, as well as the relationship of the individual to the masses and to the world. His poems are also often rife with satire.
While his poetic forms and themes share an affinity with the romantic tradition, Cummings's work universally shows a particular idiosyncrasy of syntax, or way of arranging individual words into larger phrases and sentences. Many of his most striking poems do not involve any typographical or punctuation innovations at all, but purely syntactic ones. While some of his poetry is free verse (with no concern for rhyme or meter), many have a recognizable sonnet structure of 14 lines, with an intricate rhyme scheme. A number of his poems feature a typographically exuberant style, with words, parts of words, or punctuation symbols scattered across the page, often making little sense until read aloud, at which point the meaning and emotion become clear. Cummings, who was also a painter, understood the importance of presentation, and used typography to "paint a picture" with some of his poems.
The seeds of Cummings's unconventional style appear well established even in his earliest work. At age six, he wrote to his father:
FATHER DEAR. BE, YOUR FATHER-GOOD AND GOOD,
HE IS GOOD NOW, IT IS NOT GOOD TO SEE IT RAIN,
FATHER DEAR IS, IT, DEAR, NO FATHER DEAR,
LOVE, YOU DEAR,
*American 20th century
An American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. His first published poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, was also one of his most famous, appearing in Brownie's Book. Later, his poems, short plays, essays and short stories would appear in the NAACP publication, Crisis Magazine, in Opportunity Magazine, and others.
One of Hughes' most acclaimed essays appeared in the Nation in 1926, entitled "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain". It spoke of Black writers and poets, "who would surrender racial pride in the name of a false integration," where a talented Black writer would prefer to be considered a poet, not a Black poet, which to Hughes meant he subconsciously wanted to write like a white poet. Hughes argued, "no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself."
"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" poem
I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.
I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
*American 20th century
An American poet. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 and was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985. Her poems, many published while she attended Wilson Junior College, ranged in style from traditional ballads and sonnets to poems using blues rhythms in free verse. Her characters were often drawn from the poor of the inner city. After failing to obtain a position with the Chicago Defender, Brooks took a series of secretarial jobs. Brooks' first book of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville (1945), published by Harper and Row, earned instant critical acclaim. She received her first Guggenheim Fellowship and was included as one of the "Ten Young Women of the Year" in Mademoiselle magazine. With her second book of poetry, Annie Allen (1950), she became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. We Real Cool
Her most famous poem, it's often brought up as an example of what an amazing reader Brooks was. Adopting the bebop rhythm that the poem uses to make its point about the fast life, emphasizing the "We" at the end of every line until the end, where the "We" vanishes, she stunned audiences with this one. It's definitely an example of Brooks's virtues as a craftswoman, yet I think (as she did) that the poem is way overrated. She was far too ambitious a poet to allow her reputation to rest on well-executed gimmicks.
"We Real Cool" poem
We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon.
Amajor Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His "Divine Comedy," originally called Comedìa and later called Divina by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written between c. 1308 and his death in 1321. The poem's imaginative and allegorical vision of the afterlife is a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church. It helped establish the Tuscan dialect, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language.It is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.
"Inferno" begins on the night before Good Friday in the year 1300, "halfway along our life's path" Dante is thirty-five years old, lost in a dark wood (understood as sin), assailed by beasts (a lion, a leopard, and a she-wolf) he cannot evade, and unable to find the "straight way" - to salvation (symbolized by the sun behind the mountain). Conscious that he is ruining himself and that he is falling into a "low place" where the sun is silent , Dante is at last rescued by Virgil, and the two of them begin their journey to the underworld. Each sin's punishment in Inferno is a symbolic instance of poetic justice; for example, fortune-tellers have to walk with their heads on backwards, unable to see what is ahead, because that was what they had tried to do in life:
"Purgatory" is the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno, and preceding the Paradiso. The poem was written in the early 14th century. It is an allegory telling of the climb of Dante up the Mount of Purgatory, guided by the Roman poet Virgil, except for the last four cantos at which point Beatrice takes over as Dante's guide. In the poem, Purgatory is depicted as a mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, consisting of a bottom section (Ante-Purgatory), seven levels of suffering and spiritual growth (associated with the seven deadly sins), and finally the Earthly Paradise at the top. Allegorically, the poem represents the Christian life, and in describing the climb Dante discusses the nature of sin, examples of vice and virtue, and moral issues in politics and in the Church. The poem outlines a theory that all sin arises from love - either perverted love directed towards others' harm, or deficient love, or the disordered love of good things.
"Paradise" is the third and final part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno and the Purgatorio. It is an allegory telling of Dante's journey through Heaven, guided by Beatrice, who symbolises theology. In the poem, Paradise is depicted as a series of concentric spheres surrounding the Earth, consisting of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, the Primum Mobile and finally, the Empyrean. It was written in the early 14th century. Allegorically, the poem represents the soul's ascent to God.
Circles of Hell (Inferno)
First Circle (Limbo)
Second Circle (Lust)
Third Circle (Gluttony)
Fourth Circle (Greed)
Fifth Circle (Wrath)
Sixth Circle (Heresy)
Seventh Circle (Violence)
Eighth Circle (Fraud)
Ninth Circle (Treachery)
The primary importance of the free expression of the feelings of the artist. The importance the Romantics placed on untrammelled feeling is summed up in the remark of the German painter Caspar David Friedrich that "the artist's feeling is his law".To William Wordsworth poetry should be "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings". In order to truly express these feelings, the content of the art must come from the imagination of the artist, with as little interference as possible from "artificial" rules dictating what a work should consist of. A good creative artist, would freely and unconsciously follow through artistic inspiration if left alone to do so.Therefore, the influence of models from other works would impede the creator's own imagination, so originality was absolutely essential. The concept of the genius, or artist who was able to produce his own original work through this process of "creation from nothingness", is key to Romanticism, and to be derivative was the worst sin.
Romantics were distrustful of the human world, and tended to believe that a close connection with nature was mentally and morally healthy. Romantic art addressed its audiences directly and personally with what was intended to be felt as the personal voice of the artist. So, in literature, "much of romantic poetry invited the reader to identify the protagonists with the poets themselves". Romanticism embodied "a new and restless spirit, seeking violently to burst through old and cramping forms, a nervous preoccupation with perpetually changing inner states of consciousness, a longing for the unbounded and the indefinable, for perpetual movement and change, an effort to return to the forgotten sources of life, a passionate effort at self-assertion both individual and collective, a search after means of expressing an unappeasable yearning for unattainable goals
a cultural movement of intellectuals beginning in the late 17th- and 18th-century Europe emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition. Its purpose was to reform society using reason, challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith, and advance knowledge through the scientific method. It promoted scientific thought, skepticism, and intellectual interchange.It opposed superstition and intolerance, with the Catholic Church as a favorite target.
Originating about 1650 to 1700, it was sparked by philosophers Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), John Locke (1632-1704), Pierre Bayle (1647-1706), Voltaire (1694-1778) and physicist Isaac Newton (1643-1727).Ruling princes often endorsed and fostered these figures and even attempted to apply their ideas of government in what was known as enlightened absolutism. The Scientific Revolution is closely tied to the Enlightenment, as its discoveries overturned many traditional concepts and introduced new perspectives on nature and man's place within it. The Enlightenment flourished until about 1790-1800, after which the emphasis on reason gave way to Romanticism's emphasis on emotion, and a Counter-Enlightenment gained force.
The new intellectual forces spread to urban centres across Europe, notably England, Scotland, the German states, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Italy, Austria, and Spain, then jumped the Atlantic into the European colonies, where it influenced Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, among many others, and played a major role in the American Revolution. The political ideals of the Enlightenment influenced the American Declaration of Independence, the United States Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and the Polish-Lithuanian Constitution of May 3, 1791.
An epigram is a short, pithy saying, usually in verse, often with a quick, satirical twist at the end. The subject is usually a single thought or event. The word "epigram" comes from the Greek epigraphein, meaning "to write on, inscribe," and originally referred to the inscriptions written on stone monuments in ancient Greece. The first-century epigrams of the Roman poet Martial became the model for the modern epigram.
1. Defining the epigram by example, Coleridge offered the following:
What is an Epigram? A dwarfish whole,
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
2. Oscar Wilde. His works are studded with examples of the epigram, such as, "I can resist everything except temptation. "
William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel T. Coleridge
Although the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau and William Godwin had great influence (Enlightenment), the French Revolution and its aftermath had the strongest impact of all. In England initial support for the Revolution was primarily utopian and idealist, and when the French failed to live up to expectations, most English intellectuals renounced the Revolution. However, the romantic vision had taken forms other than political, and these developed apace.
In Lyrical Ballads (1798 and 1800), a watershed in literary history, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge presented and illustrated a liberating aesthetic: poetry should express, in genuine language, experience as filtered through personal emotion and imagination; the truest experience was to be found in nature.
Express personal or emotional feelings and are traditionally the home of the present tense. They have specific rhyming schemes and are often, but not always, set to music or a beat. The lyric poem, dating from the Romantic era, does have some thematic antecedents in ancient Greek and Roman verse, but the ancient definition was based on metrical criteria, and in archaic and classical Greek culture presupposed live performance accompanied by a stringed instrument.
Much lyric poetry depends on regular meter based either on number of syllables or on stress.
The most common meters are as follows:
Iambic - two syllables, with the short or unstressed syllable followed by the long or stressed syllable.
Trochaic - two syllables, with the long or stressed syllable followed by the short or unstressed syllable. In English, this metre is found almost entirely in lyric poetry.
Pyrrhic - Two unstressed syllables
Anapestic - three syllables, with the first two short or unstressed and the last long or stressed.
Dactylic - three syllables, with the first one long or stressed and the other two short or unstressed.
Spondaic - two syllables, with two successive long or stressed syllables.
Some forms have a combination of meters, often using a different meter for the refrain. ...
Rhymes created out of words with similar, but not identical sounds.
In most instances, either the vowel segments are different while the consonants are identical, or vice versa. This type of rhyme is also called approximate rhyme, inexact rhyme, off rhyme, analyzed rhyme, or suspended rhyme.
1. alternating half-rhymes (on—moon, bodies—ladies):
When have I last looked ON
The round green eyes and the long wavering BODIES
Of the dark leopards of the MOON?
All the wild witches, those most noble LADIES
(Yeats, "Lines written in Dejection")
2. Amee second and fourth lines; in the following example the rhyme is soul—all.
Hope is the Thing with Feathers
That perches in the SOUL,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at ALL.
(Moses ibn Ezra, 12th century Hebrew poet)
1. A single person, who is not the poet, utters the speech that makes up the whole of the poem, in a specific situation at a critical moment [...].
2. This person addresses and interacts with one or more other people; but we know of the auditors' presence, and what they say and do, only from clues in the discourse of the single speaker.
3. The main principle controlling the poet's choice and formulation of what the lyric speaker says is to reveal to the reader, in a way that enhances its interest, the speaker's temperament and character.
Background: One of the most important influences on the development of the dramatic monologue is the Romantic poets. The long, personal lyrics typical of the Romantic period are not dramatic monologues, in the sense that they do not, for the most part, imply a concentrated narrative. However, poems such as William Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey and Percy Bysshe Shelley's Mont Blanc, to name two famous examples, offered a model of close psychological observation and philosophical or pseudo-philosophical inquiry described in a specific setting. The Victorian period represented the high point of the dramatic monologue in English poetry. Robert Browning is usually credited with perfecting the form; certainly, Browning is the poet who, above all, produced his finest and most famous work in this form. While My Last Duchess is the most famous of his monologues, the form dominated his writing career. Fra Lippo Lippi, Caliban upon Setebos, Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister and Porphyria's Lover, as well as the other poems in Men and Women are just a handful of Browning's monologues.
"My Last Duchess" is written in 28 rhymed couplets of iambic pentameter.
Types of Dramatic Monologue:
"My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning excerpt
That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will 't please you sit and look at her? I said 'Frà Pandolf' by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, The depth and passion of its earnest glance, But to myself they turned (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, How such a glance came there; so, not the first Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 't was not Her husband's presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps Frà Pandolf chanced to say, 'Her mantle laps Over my lady's wrist too much,' or 'Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat:' such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart -- how shall I say? -- too soon made glad,
Born: 1631; Death: 1700
After John Donne and John Milton, John Dryden was the greatest English poet of the seventeenth century. After William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, he was the greatest playwright. And he has no peer as a writer of prose, especially literary criticism, and as a translator.
"The Conquest of Granada" (1670, 1671), and the greatest tragicomedy, "Marriage A-la-Mode" (1671). He wrote the greatest tragedy of the Restoration, "All for Love" (1677), the greatest comitragedy, "Don Sebastian" (1689), and one of the greatest comedies, "Amphitryon" (1690).
As a writer of prose he developed a lucid professional style, relying essentially on patterns and rhythms of everyday speech. As a critic he developed a combination of methods—historical, analytical, evaluative, dialogic—that proved enabling to neoclassical theory.
As a translator he developed an easy manner of what he called "paraphrase" that produced brilliant versions of Homer, Lucretius, Horace, Ovid, Juvenal, Persius, Giovanni Boccaccio, Geoffrey Chaucer, and above all Virgil. His translation of "The Aeneid" remains the best ever produced in English.
As a poet he perfected the heroic couplet, sprinkling it with judicious enjambments, triplets, and metric variations and bequeathing it to Alexander Pope to work upon it his own magic.
Dryden the poet is best known today as a satirist, although he wrote only two great original satires, "Mac Flecknoe" (1682) and "The Medall" (1682). His most famous poem, "Absalom and Achitophel" (1681), while it contains several brilliant satiric portraits, unlike satire comes to a final resolution, albeit tragic for both David and his son.
"The Conquest of Granada" is a Restoration era play. A two-part tragedy written by John Dryden that was first acted in 1670 and 1671 and published in 1672. It is notable both as a defining example of the "heroic drama" pioneered by Dryden, and as the subject of later satire.
The plot deals with the Spanish conquest of Granada in 1492 and the fall of Muhammad XII of Granada, the last Islamic ruler on the Iberian Peninsula.
"Absalom and Achitophel" (excerpt)
In pious times, ere priest-craft did begin,
Before polygamy was made a sin;
When man, on many, multipli'd his kind,
Ere one to one was cursedly confin'd:
When Nature prompted, and no Law deni'd
Promiscuous use of concubine and bride;
Then, Israel's monarch, after Heaven's own heart,
His vigorous warmth did variously impart
To wives and slaves: and, wide as his command,
Scatter'd his Maker's image through the land.
Michal, of royal blood, the crown did wear;
A soil ungrateful to the tiller's care:
Not so the rest; for several mothers bore
To god-like David, several sons before.
But since like slaves his bed they did ascend,
No true succession could their seed attend.
Born: 1844; Death: 1900
a German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer. He wrote several critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.
Nietzsche's key ideas include the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism, the Will to Power, the "death of God", the Übermensch and eternal recurrence. One of the key tenets of his philosophy is the concept of "life-affirmation," which embraces the realities of the world we live now in over the idea of a world beyond. It further champions the creative powers of the individual to strive beyond social, cultural, and moral contexts. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, and his influence remains substantial, particularly in the continental philosophical schools of existentialism, postmodernism, and post-structuralism. His ideas of individual overcoming and transcendence beyond structure and context have had a profound impact on late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century thinkers, who have used these concepts as points of departure in the development of their philosophies, as seen in the social and political thought of Roberto Mangabeira Unger.
As a philologist, Nietzsche had a thorough knowledge of Greek philosophy. He read Immanuel Kant, Plato, John Stuart Mill, Arthur Schopenhauer and African Spir, who became his main opponents in his philosophy, and later Spinoza, whom he saw as his "precursor" in many respects, but as a personification of the "ascetic ideal" in others. However, Nietzsche referred to Kant as a "moral fanatic", Plato as "boring", Mill as a "blockhead", and of Spinoza he said: "How much of personal timidity and vulnerability does this masquerade of a sickly recluse betray?"
The idea that one value-system is no more worthy than the next, although it may not be directly ascribed to Nietzsche, has become a common premise in modern social science. Max Weber and Martin Heidegger absorbed it and made it their own. It shaped their philosophical and cultural endeavor, as well as their political understanding. Weber for example, relies on Nietzsche's perspectivism by maintaining that objectivity is still possible—but only after a particular perspective, value, or end has been established.
Among his critique of traditional philosophy of Kant, Descartes and Plato in Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche attacked thing in itself and cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) as unfalsifiable beliefs based on naive acceptance of previous notions and fallacies.
"Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future" (1886) Nietzsche accuses past philosophers of lacking critical sense and blindly accepting dogmatic premises in their consideration of morality. Specifically, he accuses them of founding grand metaphysical systems upon the faith that the good man is the opposite of the evil man, rather than just a different expression of the same basic impulses that find more direct expression in the evil man. The work moves into the realm "beyond good and evil" in the sense of leaving behind the traditional morality which Nietzsche subjects to a destructive critique in favour of what he regards as an affirmative approach that fearlessly confronts the perspectival nature of knowledge and the perilous condition of the modern individual.
Born: March 1, 1917 - September 12, 1977) was an American poet. He was born into a Boston Brahmin family that could trace its origins back to the Mayflower. His family, past and present, were important subjects in his poetry. Growing up in Boston also informed his poems, which were frequently set in Boston and the New England region.
Most famous book: "Life Studies"
Part I: Part I of the book contains four poems that are similar in style and tone to the poems of Lowell's previous books, The Mills of the Kavanaughs and Lord Weary's Castle. They're well-polished, formal in their use of meter and rhyme, and fairly impersonal. This first section can be interpreted as a transition section, signaling Lowell's move away from Catholicism, as evidenced by the book's first poem, "Beyond the Alps," as well as a move away from the traditional, dense, more impersonal style of poetry that characterized Lowell's writing while he was still a practicing Catholic and closely associated with New Critical poets like Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom. It was a declaration of his lack of faith.
Part II: contains only one piece which is titled "91 Revere Street" and is the first (and only) significant passage of prose to appear in one of Lowell's books of poems. It centers, with intricate detail, on Lowell's childhood when his family was living in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood at 91 Revere Street. The piece, which is the longest one in the book, also focuses on his parents' marriage as well as young Lowell's relationship with his parents, other relatives, and his childhood peers. Notable characters in the piece include Lowell's great-grandfather Mordecai Myers and his father's Navy buddy, Commander Billy Harkness.
Part III contains odes to four writers: Hart Crane, Delmore Schwartz, George Santayana, and Ford Madox Ford.
Part IV contains the majority of the book's poems and is given the subheading of "Life Studies." These poems are the ones that critics refer to as "confessional." These "confessional" poems are the ones that document Lowell's struggle with mental illness and include pieces like "Skunk Hour", "Home After Three Months Away" and "Waking in the Blue." However, the majority of the poems in this section revolve around Lowell's family with a particular emphasis on the troubled marriage of his parents (as Lowell established in Part II).
Why it's important:
M. L. Rosenthal wrote a review of Life Studies, entitled "Poetry as Confession" which first applied the term "confessional" to Lowell's approach in Life Studies, and led to the name of the school of Confessional poetry. For this reason, Life Studies is viewed as one of the first confessional books of poetry, although some poets and poetry critics such as Adam Kirsch and Frank Bidart question the accuracy of the confessional label. In a 1962 interview with Peter Orr, Sylvia Plath specifically cited Lowell's Life Studies as having had a profound influence over the poetry she was writing at that time (and which her husband would publish posthumously as Ariel a few years later), stating, "I've been very excited by what I feel is the new breakthrough that came with, say, Robert Lowell's Life Studies, this intense breakthrough into very serious, very personal, emotional experience which I feel has been partly taboo. Robert Lowell's poems about his experience in a mental hospital, for example, interested me very much
"Ulysses" is a poem in blank verse by the Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), written in 1833 and published in 1842 in his well-received second volume of poetry. An oft-quoted poem, it is popularly used to illustrate the dramatic monologue form. Ulysses describes, to an unspecified audience, his discontent and restlessness upon returning to his kingdom, Ithaca, after his far-ranging travels. Facing old age, Ulysses yearns to explore again, despite his reunion with his wife Penelope and son Telemachus.
The character of Ulysses (in Greek, Odysseus) has been explored widely in literature. The adventures of Odysseus were first recorded in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (c. 800-700 BC), and Tennyson draws on Homer's narrative in the poem. Most critics, however, find that Tennyson's Ulysses recalls Dante's Ulisse in his Inferno (c. 1320). In Dante's re-telling, Ulisse is condemned to hell among the false counsellors, both for his pursuit of knowledge beyond human bounds and for his adventures in disregard of his family.