Metaphysical Poets

(2196 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : .

It seems that the Scottish writer William Drummond in around 1630 was one of the first to apply the term “metaphysical” to particular poets, but the critic often associated with the seventeenth-century application of the term is John Dryden. Writing at the end of the seventeenth century, Dryden uses the term “metaphysics” to identify the abstruse “speculations of philosophy” that he thought characterised the poetry of John Donne (John Dryden,Essays, vol. 2, ed. W. P. Ker, New York, Russell and Russell, 1961: 19). The use of the term was subsequently expanded by Samuel Johnson in the eighteenth century to name a “school” of poets who nowadays usually include George Herbert (1593-1633), Richard …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Citation:
Mousley, Andrew. "Metaphysical Poets". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1209, accessed 31 July 2015.]