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John Donne's The Sun Rising
Critics of John Donne's "The Sun Rising" often note that the poem's displacement of the outside world in favor of two lovers' inner world serves to support its overall theme: the centrality of human love amidst a permanent physical universe. In an essay entitled "John Donne," Achsah Guibbory supports this reading of the poem, stating, "The world of love contains everything of value; it is the only one worth exploring and possessing. Hence the microcosmic world of love becomes larger and more important than the macrocosm" (135). "[T]he lovers' room," Toshihiko Kawasaki observes similarly, "is a microcosm because it is private and self-contained, categorically excluding the outer world" (29). As evident in this criticism, Donne's lovers seem to transcend the limits of the physical world by disregarding external influences, coercing all things to rotate around them instead. In Thomas Docherty's words, "[the lovers] become the world and occupy the same position of centrality as the sun. They become, in short, the still point around which all else is supposed to revolve, and around whom all time passes [. .]" (31). They create a miniature world that is more important than the larger universe within the realm of their bedroom, and their bodies are the gravitational center.
Expanding upon the criticism of this poem in his analysis of Donne's poetry, James S. Baumlin concludes that "The Sun Rising" must not be interpreted literally. Rather, Donne's displacement of the outside world, in favor of the lovers' inside "microcosm," is a rhetorical technique used to argue for the strength and energy of mutual love. "Actually," Baumlin writes,
[. .] the reader knows that the world does not literally go...
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...se. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1991.
Brown, Meg Lota. Donne and the Politics of Conscience in Early Modern England. Leiden: . Brill, 1995.
Docherty, Thomas. John Donne, Undone. London: Methuen, 1986.
Donne, John. "The Sun Rising." The Longman Anthology of British Literature. Ed. David Damrosch, et al. Vol. 1. New York: Longman, 1999. 1552-1553.
Gorton, Lisa. "John Donne's Use of Space." Early Modern Literary Studies (1998): 27 pars. 10 November 1999 .
Guibbory, Achsah. "John Donne." The Cambridge Companion to English Poetry: Donne to Marvell. Ed. Thomas N. Corns. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993. 123-147.
Kawasaki, Toshihiko. "Donne's Microcosm."Seventeenth-Century Imagery: Essays on Uses of Figurative Language from Donne to Farquhar. Ed. Earl Miner. Berkeley: U of California P, 1971. 25-43.
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