The imagery of John Donne

Devereux, Edward James (1958) The imagery of John Donne. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Imagery is the imaginative use of words, the correlation of ideas and things in the mind of a poet that invokes in a perceptive reader a state of mind analogous to that of a poet. The statement of the correlation is in itself meaningless; poetic communication takes place through a triple process: -- 1. The symbols or words denoting the ideas and things are combined to form a new symbol; -- 2. The referents of things denoted are equated; -- 3. The references or ideas about the referents and symbols are made to coincide. -- It is this coincidence of references that allows the poet to invoke his state of mind in a reader. -- To this process Donne added a fanciful element, bringing into his poetry the conceit. A conceit is a witty or ingenious or fanciful comparison or idea, usually so written that its peculiar nature obscures the metaphorical process described above; fancy takes precedence over imagination. -- The metaphorical process is more easily seen in the comparison, in which its workings are not obscured by the fantastic element. Comparisons and conceits can be either developed or simple. -- The developed image extends a basic metaphor by one of more of the following methods: -- 2. The introduction of further metaphorical statement to justify the use of the basic metaphor, assuming its aptness; -- 2. The use of further metaphorical statement to extend the basic metaphor, assuming its aptness; -- 3. The use of further statement, either metaphorical or literal, to explain the basic metaphor. -- This development of an image is carried on when: -- 1. The statement of a metaphor leads to the creation of further imagery modifying and strengthening the basic metaphor; -- 2. A group of images become somehow related, focusing in one metaphorical idea. -- The habit of developing images seems the result of an analytical mind, taking pleasure in: -- 1. Forcing all the possible analogies between the referent of the basic metaphor and the subject of the poem; -- 2. Introducing apparently logical ramifications of the basic metaphor. -- The simple comparison shows an aspect of Donne’s imagery obscured by the development in the longer images; that is its reasonable nature. Donne not only modified his imagination by his fancy; he also modified the product by reason.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7549
Item ID: 7549
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 160-164.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1958
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Donne, John, 1572-1631;

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