Cosmic matters
Spenser, Donne, and the philosophic poem
in Spenser and Donne
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This chapter argues for intellectual continuities and generic connections between Spenser’s Fowre Hymnes and Donne’s Anniversaries as poems that engage deeply with the late sixteenth-century revival of cosmology and natural philosophy. It shows how both poets are concerned with fundamental questions that emerge from reorientations in the analogy of microcosm to macrocosm and how they programmatically draw together poetry and philosophy in their work. Tracing specific textual analogies between the poems’ respective rhetorical structures and revealing their use of the contemporary genres of the hymn and the ‘philosophic poem’, the chapter suggests that the cosmos matters to Spenser and Donne not only as a philosophic framework, moral guide, or visible sign of a divine plan but also as a foundational aesthetic value.

Spenser and Donne

Thinking poets

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