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Visions and Revisions

Studies in Literature and Culture


Edited By Grzegorz Czemiel, Justyna Galant, Anna Kędra-Kardela, Aleksandra Kędzierska and Marta Komsta

Collected under the theme of Visions and Revisions, the papers included in this volume examine different aspects of literature and culture of the Anglophone world. The first part gathers articles dealing with poetry of such epochs as the seventeenth century, the Victorian era and the modern times. Part two focuses on prose works representing such conventions and modes as the romance, the Gothic novel, the condition of England novel, Victorian and neo-Victorian fiction, the science fiction novel and gay fiction. Part three concerns various aspects of British and American culture, including the new media, drama and journalism, and advertising. In its diversity the volume reflects the dynamics of change in literature and culture, enabling the readers to investigate the multifaceted canon.
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“Something to act out on a stage”: Theatrum Mundi in John Donne’s Poetry

← 12 | 13 →Agnieszka Romanowska


In his seminal edition of Donne’s poetry Herbert Grierson wrote about “dramatic intensity” of the Elegies (1912, xlii) and, in his later comments on the love poems, observed their wide dramatic range and complexity of moods (1948, 145). J.B. Leishman appreciated Donne’s “unusual liking and capacity for what children call ‘dressing up’” and his “dramatisation of actual or imaginary experiences, situations, attitudes” (1951, 145-147). Helen Gardner, who underlined the impact of the late sixteenth-century development of dramatic writing on Donne, wrote about the Elegies and Songs and Sonnets that “they are dramatic in the sense that they are single and complete as a play is single and complete” (1965, xviii) and about the Divine Poems she contended: “This dramatic language has a magic that is unanalysable” (1952, xxxii). In her essay “The Metaphysical Poets” Gardner elaborated on the poet’s “strong dramatic imagination” and his “desire to make poems out of particular moments, made imaginatively present rather than remembered” (Keast 1962, 39-40). Patrick Cruttwell also attributed Donne’s dramatic quality to the flourishing of drama in the 1590s, while Frank J. Warnke perceived this feature of Donne’s poetry in a wider context of the age’s phenomenological scepticism:

The dramatic, indeed the theatrical, is perhaps the major constituent of the baroque imagination. […] [T]he baroque lyric is partly defined by its dramatic modus operandi; […] [f]or Donne, as for Shakespeare […] the venerable topos of the world as theater […] had an obsessive status – in life as well as in art.(1987, 10)...

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