John Donne | Critical Essay by Lawrence Beaston

This literature criticism consists of approximately 14 pages of analysis & critique of John Donne.
This section contains 6,480 words
(approx. 22 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Theresa M. DiPasquale

Critical Essay by Lawrence Beaston

SOURCE: Beaston, Lawrence. “Talking to a Silent God: Donne's Holy Sonnets and the Via Negativa.Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 60, no. 2 (winter 1999): 95-109.

In the following essay, Beaston examines the tension between modern readers' expectations and Donne's intent in the Holy Sonnets, arguing that the Sonnets dramatize the medieval concept of via negativa, or the experience of God's presence and mystery even in His apparent absence.

Donne's Holy Sonnets trouble many twentieth-century readers who, like Helen Gardner, find “some sickness in the soul” (xxxi) expressed in these poems—a certain note of despair out of keeping with the subject and the author's status. Most readers expect the poems of the Anglican priest, Dr. John Donne, Dean of St. Paul's, to progress toward spiritual health, faith, and a comforting sense of...

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This section contains 6,480 words
(approx. 22 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Theresa M. DiPasquale