A Pattern for Love - The Structure of Donne's 'The Canonization'

A.P. Riemer


The witty brilliance of "The Canonization" has ensured it a place among the most widely admired of Donne's Songs and Sonets. It seems to illustrate supremely well the modern belief that the best poetry of the Renaissance engages "in the task of trying to find the verbal equivalent for states of mind and feeling". But, as Rosemond Tuve warned many years ago, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries would not have found quite so admirable poetry which describes "single moments of consciousness, single mental experiences seized and carefully represented for their own interestingness, inducing extremely delicate and precise recording of sensuous impressions involved in the experience". Such criteria, we are now beginning to realize, would have aroused suspicions of intellectual incoherence in Donne's lifetime.

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