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Lecture 16

ENGL 200 Lecture 16 - Poetry John Donne.docx

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McGill University
English (Arts)
ENGL 200
Wes Folkerth

Poetry: John Donne Introduction  Lived from 1572-1631  He is about 8 years younger than Shakespeare’s (1616)  Arthur Meratti described him as a coterie poet o A coterie poet is somebody who writes for a coterie: an environment o A specific social and literary environment o Ben Jonson would say that he wrote his best at the ends of court  In the Inns of Court, people learned about law, in order to get positions in court (secretaries, office boys, etc.)  However, these jobs may or may not be there when they graduate  Many ambitious men came here to study  It is sort of the main court’s minor leagues  The relationship of the Inns of Court are closer than universities because they are geographically closer to the Courts  They are closer, but they are far enough away that they can frequently critique the environment of the court (because they are not part of the court yet)  Inns of Court: o There were many o They were the cream of the crop, and they would prepare them more for administrative positions, not really the noble positions o It is also a social kind of thing o It is not the same as the court itself o It has a particular style associated with it: a male dominated place o They had a lot of shared attitudes and behaviors, and many were taken from the actual Court itself – this was of course modeled from the normal court o Conversational idioms were taught here – how to compliment people, expressing deference – all are skills that you might learn in this social environment o There is still a lot of anti-court vibes in the Inns, because some knew that they would not get a position in the court o A distinct linguistic style in the inn was the adoption of the plain style of expression (in comparison to the flowery expression present in the court)  For example, Viola in Twelfth Night has a really good facility with language, and this was common in this period  This culture was very rhetorically sensitive – the accent, the metaphors – therefore, it is important to be good in rhetorical skills o One way they differentiate themselves from the court is by having a more real- world discourse that does not have elements of court-hypocrisy –
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