Noam Flinker: "John Donne and the Anthropomorphic Map"


Gandelman's contribution to Donne studies is thus important yet generally unnoticed. This study has been concerned with the nature and significance of his work on the anthropomorphic map tradition and with an adjustment of his perspective on it. I have tried to subject the flashes of insight that characterize the best of Gandelman's work to a series of evaluations designed to transform the instants of bright illumination into a few principles of critical analysis. Most important, I would argue, is the irrelevance of Wittgenstein's "duck - rabbit" for understanding the poetic functioning of Donne's eroticism. As the imagination of the persona in the poems and the prose moves back and forth between sexuality and the spirit and between the microcosm and the macrocosm, the reader can never lose sight of either. The reversals implicit in the duck - rabbit conundrum make it impossible to perceive the two at the same time. If we see the rabbit, we cannot see the duck and vice versa. In Donne's poetic imagination, however, all the various facets of the materials of the verse and the prose somehow come together.

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AS/SA Nº 8, Article 7 : Page 6 / 7

© 1999, Applied Semiotics / Sémiotique appliquée

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