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A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning Criticism

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Some decades after Donne's death, his poetry's metaphysical style and extravagant wit came under attack from important English Neoclassical writers. These included Restoration poet and critic John Dryden, whose 1693 essay "A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire" considered Donne's ingenuity "unnatural," and the eighteenth century critic Samuel Johnson, who in his Lives of the Poets first applied the word "metaphysical" to the work of Donne and his followers, but in a derogatory way. Johnson went so far, in fact, as to say of the famous conceit comparing the lovers with a pair of compasses, that "it may be doubted whether absurdity or ingenuity has the better claim." In the early twentieth century, however, modernist writers "rediscovered" Donne's poetry and praised its integration of intellect and emotion, as well as its rhythmic invention. In a 1953 piece reprinted in his Essays of Four Decades, American poet and critic...

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This section contains 362 words
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Buy the A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning Study Guide
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