8. Donne's ‘Anatomy’ and the Commemoration of Women: ‘Her Death Hath Taught Us Dearly’

  1. Helen Wilcox

Published Online: 30 NOV 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118327647.ch8

1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England

1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England

How to Cite

Wilcox, H. (ed) (2014) Donne's ‘Anatomy’ and the Commemoration of Women: ‘Her Death Hath Taught Us Dearly’, in 1611: Authority, Gender and the Word in Early Modern England, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118327647.ch8

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 NOV 2013
  2. Published Print: 2 JAN 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405193917

Online ISBN: 9781118327647

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Keywords:

  • 1611;
  • An Anatomy of the World;
  • Elizabeth Drury;
  • John Donne;
  • women

Summary

John Donne's ‘An Anatomy of the World’ has a clear structure and yet allows itself to pursue particular fascinations and digressions within the established pattern. It is a poem of extremes: on the one hand, the overt idealising of Elizabeth Drury as a Platonic ‘best and first original / Of all fair copies’, and on the other, the exaggerated contempt of the world in its fallen and wounded state without her. The ‘Anatomy’ functions precisely through the invocation of ‘memory’, and does so in a constructed poetic ‘form and frame’. The remembrance of women in 1611 takes a variety of forms. As seen in the case of Donne, the process of commemorating women in 1611 could involve several different modes for the expression of a single los: he not only wrote in a familiar form, the elegy, but also contributed the text for Elizabeth Drury's sculpted tomb.