Shakespeare and Donne
Generic Hybrids and the Cultural Imaginary
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Shakespeare and Donne: Generic Hybrids and the Cultural Imaginary is a collection of essays that focus on textual and contextual intersections between these early modern writers. Although Shakespeare and Donne were both Londoners and nearly exact contemporaries, the one a poet- playwright and the other a poet- priest, just a single book, Anita Gilman Sherman’s ...
I. Time, Love, Sex, and Death
1. Sites of Death as Sites of Interaction in Donne and Shakespeare
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If there is a motif that runs like a thread through all of John Donne’s writings, it is the awareness of death and its impact on life. Donne’s portrait in a shroud, the frontispiece to his most famous sermon, “Deaths Duell,” which became the model of his epitaph in St. Paul’s Cathedral, is the visible sign of this constant awareness.1 It shows the living Donne awaiting his deliverance...
2. “Nothing like the Sun”: Transcending Time and Change in Donne’s Love Lyrics and Shakespeare’s Plays
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Kathryn Kremen defines the Western conception of the hieros gamos (sacred marriage) as a way of imagining the “sexual union of man and woman on earth” to be a prefiguration of “the hypostatical union in body and soul of man and the Godhead in heaven.”1 Even completely nonreligious love lyrics such as Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 often reflect this idealized vision of ...
3. “None Do Slacken, None Can Die”:Die Puns and Embodied Time in Donneand Shakespeare
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The last stanza of Donne’s dawn song “The Good Morrow” asserts that the love between the poet and his beloved shall never die as do loves “not mixed equally.”1 Instead, Donne’s speaker posits, “If our two loves be one, or, thou and I / Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.” Their love is a balanced mix of humors that will allow it to live forever as a unified and ...
II. Moral, Public, and Spatial Imaginaries
4. Donne, Shakespeare, and the Interrogative Conscience
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Born within eight years of each other, Shakespeare and Donne grew up under the terms of the Elizabethan Settlement, as a result of which the monarch’s governance of all things political, social, and cultural merged with the governance of religious belief and practice through the Act of Uniformity and mandated use of the Book of Common Prayer. As Patrick ...
5. Mapping the Celestial in Shakespeare’s Tempest and the Writings of John Donne
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Now more than fifty years ago, in “Donne the Space Man,” William Empson excavated evidence from a range of John Donne’s poems to suggest a preordination interest on the writer’s part in space travel and the inhabitation of other planets. In this essay, Empson goes to great lengths to argue that Donne’s apparent fascination with other worlds is evidence that the ...
III. Names, Puns, and More
6. Inserting Me: Some Instances of Predication and the Privation of the Private Self in Shakespeare and Donne
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This was at first intended to be a reading of Shakespeare’s “Will” sonnets in the light of Donne’s Holy Sonnets and some questions about predication. In the event, however, I have managed only the prelude to such a reading. What follows, then, is not a reading but an invitation to a reading of Shakespeare’s sonnet 135...
Improper Nouns: A Response to Marshall Grossman
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Marshall Grossman’s contribution to this collection is the snapshot of a brilliant mind cut off in midstride. Marshall was, clearly, following up on his 2009 essay, “Whose Life Is It Anyway? Shakespeare’s Prick,” which in turn builds upon Joel Fineman’s seminal work in both The Perjured Eye and The Subjectivity Effect.1 This is characteristic: Marshall’s arguments ...
7. Aspects, Physiognomy, and the Pun: A Reading of Sonnet 135 and “A Valediction: Of Weeping”
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What follows is a series of short sections that, in many respects, comprise different ways of grasping the same phenomenon. And though every section will fail to grasp the phenomenon in its totality, I hope that their mitigated failures will amount to something of a success. Already, though, I may have engineered my first small failure: in saying that what I consider...
IV. Realms of Privacy and Imagination
8. Fantasies of Private Language in “The Phoenix and Turtle” and “The Ecstasy”
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Although “perfect” and “universal” language schemes have been extensively studied, fantasies of “private language” in the seventeenth century have been neglected.1 “Private language” is a vexed term seldom applied to the early modern period, mostly because it is anachronistic, having been coined by Ludwig Wittgenstein in the mid- twentieth century. Yet the idea of a ...
9. Working Imagination in the Early Modern Period: Donne’s Secular and Religious Lyrics and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth, and Leontes
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Like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Donne in his youth was “a great frequenter of Playes,” and, in the melancholy of his maturity, he pondered the subject of self- slaughter.1 His tonal range included irony, sarcasm, satire, and more, with a special, witty, punning emphasis on sex. Death, as dying and lying, was never far from his sight. Whether in prose or verse, he was given to ...
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2013