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John Donne presentation
Transcript of John Donne presentation
http://www.shmoop.com/death-be-not-proud-holy-sonnet-10/ Early Life John Donne was born into a Catholic family during a strong anti-Catholic period in England.
He entered Oxford University at 11 and later the University of Cambridge but never received any degrees due to his Catholicism.
When he was 20, Donne began studying law at Lincoln's Inn.
He appeared destined for a legal career, but instead he turned toward a career in poetry .
http://www.biography.com/people/john-donne-9277090 Secular Poetry As a young man, Donne was preoccupied with money, women, and travel, resulting in much of his secular and erotic poetry, including "The Flea" and "Go and Catch a Falling Star".
http://www.columbiagrangers.org/commentary/00000025626 Metaphysical Poetry John Donne was one of the very first metaphysical poets. Metaphysical poetry uses complex, extended metaphors called conceits that are often continued throughout the entire poem.
This type of poetry is more intellectual and often highly philosophical.
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/john-donne John Donne's poetry took a shift from erotic poems to love poems when he met and married his wife, Anne. These love poems include "The Sun Rising" and "A Valediction; Forbidding Mourning".
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2011/07/a-valediction-forbidding-mourning/ Love Poetry The Flea One of Donne's secular poems, "The Flea," is about a man trying to seduce a woman through the image of a flea sucking their blood, the flea being the conceit of the poem. The narrator notices a flea jump from his arm to the woman's and this gives him inspiration to persuade her. He explains that both their blood is mingled inside the flea and this mingling causes her no shame. "Thou know'st that this cannot be said/A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead"(3-4). He asks her not to kill the flea because it would be like killing all three of them. However, when she kills the flea, he turns the argument back against her. "Just so much honor, when thou yield'st to me/Will waste, as this flea's took death from thee"(26-27). Go and Catch a Falling Star Another one of his secular poems is "Go and Catch a Falling Star," in which the author basically says that women who are beautiful cannot be honest, and it is impossible to find a woman both beautiful and faithful.
In the beginning of the poem, Donne sets up a series of impossible tasks including "Catching a falling star". His final impossible task is to find "a woman both true, and fair"(18). However, he says, even if you find one, she "Will be/False, ere I come,to thou, to two, or three"(26-27). The Sun Rising One of these love poems is "The Sun Rising," in which a couple is trying to enjoy their morning together when they are interrupted by the sun. The author is angered at the presence of the sun because it indicates that time is passing, time the author wants to spend with his beloved. The author treats the sun as a person, which is the conceit of the poem. The author explains to the sun that the couple is so in love that the sun should revolve around them because they believe they are the center of the universe. "Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere/This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere"(27-28). A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning Another of Donne's love poems, "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," was written when Donne and Anne were being separated by travel. In the poem, the author uses several conceits to describe their love for each other, including comparing their love to beaten gold, how you can beat and beat it until it is paper thin but it will never break. Donne also compares their love to a compass, in which the fixed foot stays in the center and the other moves around it. In the same way, Donne and his wife are bound together even when they are separated.
"As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth if the other do.
And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it, and grows erect, as that comes home."(25-32) Death, Be Not Proud One of the most famous of these sonnets is "Death, Be Not Proud," in which the narrator is speaking to Death, who is personified, and telling him that he is not as big and powerful as he thinks. Death has an enormous ego, and the author knows that dying is just a brief stage on his journey, and he will move on to the next shortly. Donne is very condescending towards Death and strips him of his power. "For those who think'st thou dost overthrow/Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me"(3-4). And even after death has done his worst, Donne strikes him once more. "Why swell'st thou then?/One short sleep past, we wake eternally/And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die"(12-13). His ego is thoroughly deflated. Death personified is the conceit in the poem.