The Composing of “A Jeat Ring Sent”; or Donne as Thinker and Imaginator

  • Michael A. Winkelman
Part of the Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance book series (CSLP)


For a long time, Renaissance inspiration seemed paradoxically both too mysterious and too basic for profitable analysis. As Sir Philip Sidney’s Muse tells him in Astrophil and Stella: “Fool,… look in thy heart, and write.”1 But matters frequently turn out to be more complicated and interesting than that. For one thing, les sonnets Élisabéthains were apt to communicate professional as well as amorous heartaches, as Arthur Marotti persuasively argues in “‘Love Is Not Love’: Elizabethan Sonnet Sequences and the Social Order”: “love lyrics could express figuratively the realities of suit, service, and recompense with which ambitious men were insistently concerned as well as the frustrations and disappointments experienced in socially competitive environments.”2 Furthermore, starting with Petrarch himself, self-induced mortification was often a basic precondition of composition, a point made by Gordon Braden: “Sexual frustration is deeply complicitous with at least a certain kind of poetic success, and the poet’s own literary career—his pursuit of the bays—is in some sense the hidden agenda of his courtship…. The lover might well be thought to connive in his own sexual frustration; the laurel and not Daphne might well have been the real goal all along.”3 Either way, as John Donne states in “The triple Foole”: “To Love, and Griefe tribute of Verse belongs” (17).


Cognitive Approach Cognitive Niche Left Fusiform Gyrus Marriage Ring Free Indirect Discourse 
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© Michael A. Winkelman 2013

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