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Metaphysical Poets
(357 words)

[German Version]

Used as a technical term in the history of English literature, “metaphysical poets” refers to a specific category of Elizabethan and Jacobean lyricists between W. Shakespeare and J. Milton. The concept was introduced in the 18th century with a strong negative connotation. Given a positive turn (as propagated by Herbert John Clifford Grierson and T.S. Eliot at the beginning of the 20th cent.), the works of the poets whom Samuel Johnson had criticized may be classified according to the following catalogue of distinguishing features: an …

Cite this page
Meller, Horst, “Metaphysical Poets”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 17 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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