Wiszniowska-Majchrzyk Marta
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47(2011)1 - Dissertations

Marta Wiszniowska-Majchrzyk

"I saw Eternity the other night". On English metaphysical poetry of the seventeenth century

  • language: Polish


The subject of this article is English metaphysical poetry. Of the rich and multifaceted corpus of the metaphysical poets the article outlines only one thread, in which the poets sought to fathom the things that are incapable of being understood by human reason. Metaphysical poetry was divided into “light” and “hard” versions. The former is the ‘experiencing’ poetry, showing human life as beautiful, sinful and tragic, unstable and fleeting, full of joy, of traps, of ups and downs, but also of ecstatic moments. The “hard” version, however, presents suffering and rebellion, reflects upon man’s fate; it is also characterized by a higher level of abstraction.

The analyses of particular texts show that English metaphysical poetry did not negate rational knowledge, despite the attempts to comprehend that which surpasses the human mind.