The Complete Works of John Milton: Vernacular Regicide and Republican Writings (Volume Vol. I)

Blair Worden writes:

John Donne is a modern rediscovery. His reputation, high among his contemporaries, fell after their time, along with those of other 17th-century metaphysical poets who would wait equally long for rehabilitation. The late 17th century and the 18th, committed to orderliness of metre and feeling, disliked the ‘forced’ and ‘unnatural’ rhythms of his verse, his ‘false’ conceits, his unruly sensuality. His friend Ben Jonson, whose classical preferences would earn from subsequent generations the esteem that was denied to Donne, judged him ‘the first poet in the world in some things’, but also declared that Donne ‘for not keeping of accent deserved hanging’. Donne, Jonson predicted, ‘for not being understood would perish’.

(LRB 19 June 2014)

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