Dramatising the speaking voice: John Donne and George Herbert

Amy Smith provides an overview of the key poetic techniques used by John Donne and George Herbert to dramatise the speaking voice, ranging from their creation of striking opening statements to the use of direct address and dialogue. [MP3 version]

She explores this theme through a range of close readings which identify points of interest in relation to tone, diction, imagery, rhythm and form. Amy elucidates the connections between content and technique, pointing out how the sound contributes to the poem’s sense. She draws on aspects of the speakers’ emotional and psychological engagement with questions of love, faith and despair, and the poets’ desire to achieve, through art, a reciprocal relationship with God.

This lecture was recorded as part of Easter Lectures Day 2014, when postgraduate researchers delivered fresh insights into key undergraduate exam topics. Easter Lectures Day was organised by Laura McKenzie.

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