How does a 17th century poet ask a woman for sex? Join in for episode 1 of Metaphysical Mondays where we explore Donne's most famous poem, The Flea, and we see him do just that.
In this new series I'll be exploring a poetic school that preceded the Romantic Movement: The Metaphysical school.
This refers to what Samuel Johnson called a "race of writers that may be terrmed the metaphysical poets," they were writers who were "rather as beholders than partakers of human nature; as beings looking upon good and evil, impassive and at leisure, asEpicurean deities making remarks on the actions of men and the vicissitudes of life, without interest and without emotion."
Now a broader understand of this school is actually that it "expresses emotion within an intellectual context."
It is impossible to understand the world we live in without a grasp on the words, thoughts and actions of other societies and other eras. This allows us to transcend our own era and compare the way that we live, think, talk and act with the ways of others.
Moreover, these stories and poems add to our lives by giving us more examples of how we, today, can indeed choose to live our own lives.
In this poem, for instance, we will hear a man ask for sex. But it won't be the way that you or I may think about seducing a woman. But maybe it should be? Maybe making fun and even outrageous metaphors is not the worst way to enjoy the process of making love.