Donne, Castiglione and the Poetry of Courtliness by Peter DeSa Wiggins

By Peter DeSa Wiggins

Donne, Castiglione, and the Poetry of CourtlinessPeter DeSa WigginsThe effect of The booklet of the Courtier at the paintings of John Donne.John Donne has been defined as a "poet of ambition," who used his poems as brokers in his quest for preferment one of the elites of Elizabethan and early Stuart London. before the level of the effect on Donne's paintings of that era's so much influential court docket textual content -- Castiglione's The ebook of the Courtier -- hasn't ever been totally explored. Courtier used to be Elizabethan England's licensed repository of the complicated social codes that ruled the habit of these needing development at courtroom. In those revelatory readings of a few of Donne's best-known poems, Peter DeSa Wiggins demonstrates that this ebook fired Donne's mind's eye and that, in his secular poetry, Donne applies, adapts, and unfolds to its fullest strength the personality of the courtier. In poems similar to "The Canonization," "A Nocturnall upon S. Lucies Day," "Aire and Angels," "The Flea," and "The Exstasie," Donne confronts his elite readers with the main exacting common of aristocratic behavior whereas providing his skills for delicate executive posts. by way of substituting social codes for poetic conference because the formative precept of his paintings, Donne assumed the voice of a robust aristocracy, became it to his virtue, outfitted one political profession out of it (which he lost), then outfitted one other, and within the technique revolutionized his paintings form.Peter DeSa Wiggins is Professor of English on the collage of William and Mary and writer of Figures in Ariosto's Tapestry: personality and layout within the Orlando Furioso.ContentsIntroductionThe Satirical paintings of the Disabused The artwork of deadlock The English Secretary Poets and attorneys the way forward for an phantasm The taking a look GlassAesthetic Play Courtly paintings "On his Mistris" smooth cases Courtly ComedySprezzatura or Transcendence: From Travesty to Palinode Travesty A Lesson in Deportment PalinodeDiscerning Insincerity the nice Courtier The undesirable Courtier Sincerity Then and NowConclusion

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A poet emulating another poet is competing, according to Donne, in the doing of a discreditable thing, as if he were trying to out-fornicate a dildo (32), and poetic imitation amounts to eating someone else’s meat in order to produce one’s own excrement (25–30). The condemnation of poetic imitation occurs, not only in Satyre II, but in an early document, a letter, whose reference to Dante’s Inferno indicates a focus on poetic authorities, not those in other branches of learning. Sr I am no great voyager in other mens works: no swallower nor devourer of volumes nor pursuant of authors.

He plodded on at the Inns of Court until “time (which . . must make a calfe an oxe)” (41–42) made him a lawyer. Nor can the vast majority of lawyers ever hope to rise as high as Hatton or to exercise their own genius freely. ” Submitting to the legal profession, fashioning oneself along lines laid down by real powers, may exhibit common sense, but it also in most cases results in an exchange of the “fondling, motley humorist,” the “giddie, fantastique Poet,” for a prostitute (64). Wesley Milgate cites a passage in translation from a medieval manuscript, Liber de similitudinibus et exemplis, to explain precisely why Donne could re- The Satirical Art of the Disabused 39 gard Coscus as “more” shameless than a prostitute: “So many hire lawyers to defend their property, but they consume it.

It is their fate always to be trying to live by truths which are to others, like Coscus, only matters of interpretation. In Satyre II, Donne asks which is worse, the legal demysti¤cation of texts, or illusions of literary authority. If, on the evidence of this satire, Donne’s religious leanings in the mid-1590s can be said to be more toward the Roman than the Reformed Church, the poem also forces one to conclude that he was no more satis¤ed with these leanings than he was with being a “scarce Poet” (44).

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