John Donne: Poems

Jonathan Swift and John Donne: Balancing the Extremes of Renaissance England

The renaissance that spread through Europe, while effectively marking the transformation from medieval traditionalism to modern pragmatism, brought a plethora of new and old ideas into conflict with each other. From the enlightenment born of the Renaissance came new interests in logic, reason, science, individuality, and humanity. These characteristics often clashed with the staid traditionalism of old-world religion and superstition. But this period cannot accurately be characterized as a conflict between science and religion. With the sudden influx of new ideas to complicate life, ideas rooted in seemingly conflicting forms of rationality and religion each had vastly divergent characteristics. The timeless conflict of religion, namely between different branches of Christianity, sparked unspeakable bloodshed and hatred. Similarly, science and reason became buzzwords that were frequently misused by people who indulged in nothing more than their imagination, hoping it would pass for some form of creative logic. In a way, these divergences of thought produced, to the more sensible members of society, a clear polarization of those who pursued truth and those who simply made silly attempts to create it. As a result, humorous...

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