Dayton Haskin - John Donne in the Nineteenth Century. Title: John Donne in the Nineteenth Century.
Oxford University Press, USA | 2007 | ISBN: 0199212422 | 342 pages | PDF | 1.45 MB
In 1906, having been assigned Izaak Walton's Life of Donne to read for his English class, a Harvard freshman heard a lecture on the long disparaged "metaphysical" poets. Years later, when an appreciation of these poets was considered a consummate mark of a modernist sensibility, T. S. Eliot was routinely credited with having 'discovered' Donne himself.
John Donne in the Nineteenth Century tracks the myriad ways in which "Donne" was lodged in literary culture in the Romantic and Victorian periods. The early chapters document a first revival of interest when Walton's Life was said to be "in the hands of every reader"; they explore what Wordsworth and Coleridge contributed to the conditions for the 1839 publication of the only edition ever called The Works, which reprinted the sermons of "Dr Donne". Later chapters trace a second revival, when admirers of the biography, turning to the prose letters and the poems to supplement Walton, discovered that his hero's writings entail the sorts of controversial issues that are raised by Browning, by the 'fleshly school' of poets, and by self-consciously "decadent" writers of the fin de siecle.