A re-evaluation of the poetry of Thomas Traherne

Brown, Janice (1975) A re-evaluation of the poetry of Thomas Traherne. 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

Although Thomas Traherne has been recognized as a significant writer of the seventeenth century, and although his importance as a thinker and a prose writer has been acknowledged, the magnitude of his achievement as a poet has not been adequately appraised. -- This study attempts to reveal the excellent quality of Traherne's poetry by closely examining his versification, his diction and his use of figurative language, aspects of his work which are generally overlooked by the critics. Preliminary consideration is given to biographical data, trends in Traherne criticism, and problems relating to his manuscripts. -- Traherne's versification is the result of careful planning. In his purposeful use of both traditional verse forms and highly patterned stanzas he achieves poetic excellence. The simplicity and limited scope of Traherne's diction is well suited to his style of poetry, and the frequent use of abstract words is essential to his unique communication of spiritual truth. Perhaps the strongest illustration of Traherne's success as a poet is, however, his masterful use of imagery and symbolism. As his poems are studied in sequence his skilful development of image patterns and comprehensive symbols becomes apparent. -- Traherne's relationship to the other metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century is unmistakable, yet he is one of the most independent and individualistic of the entire group. His work is also a part of the mystical tradition in literature, a fact which in no way diminishes the artistic quality of his poetry. -- Throughout this thesis Traherne's poetry is systematically defended against numerous unfounded attacks, which are clearly the result of critical bias or lack of thorough analysis. If the greatness of Traherne's poetic achievement is to be realized, it is imperative that the body of his poems be viewed as an artistic totality.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7697
Item ID: 7697
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 150-159.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1975
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Traherne, Thomas, -1674

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