Andrew Marvell: Poems

Logical Form and Formal Logic in Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress' College

Dialectical structure is probably one of the major characteristics of all Metaphysical poetry. Donne was the pioneer of this type of poetry, which was marked by erudite scholarship, and difficulty of thought. It is said that a whole book of knowledge can be compiled from the scholarly allusions in only Donne and Cowley. This, perhaps, often leads to obscurity, which has been regarded as one of the demerits of Metaphysical poetry, and many of Donne’s contemporaries believed that “it confuses the pleasures of poetry with the pleasures of puzzles”. Indeed, there are many who do approve of this type of complexity, for to them it is thought-provoking and novel. But critics generally agree that such poetry makes intellectual demands on the reader, forcing him to think logically. Moreover, the very fact that only an erudite audience can properly appreciate this poetry makes for a limited readership. The fact is that Donne and his contemporaries bring the mind into play, even when they are expressing deep emotional or spiritual themes. The very combination of spiritual and emotional subject matter, and intellectual and logical form, is the essence of the type of poetry that Donne evolved.

Among all the Metaphysical poets, however, there...

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