"That thou wilt not chuse mee": Theological Significance of Election and Anxiety in Donne's Holy Sonnets
|Keywords:||鄧恩;加爾文;預定論;揀選;焦慮;英國宗教改革;正典;Donne;Holy Sonnets;election;anxiety;predestination;English Calvinism;English Reformation;Scriputre||Issue Date:||2006||Abstract:||
The purpose of the present study is to examine how John Donne in his Holy Sonnets responds to the Protestant Reformation and English Calvinism. I suggest that the complaints and anxiety pervaded in the Holy Sonnets are Donne’s counter-reaction to the theological and ritual system of English Calvinism. In the first chapter I contend that there are two streams of interpretation of Donne’s religious poems. The first is the religio-devotional approach, and the second I call the social-conspiratorial approach. The relgio-devotional critics tend to regard Donne as a pious believer and attribute him to one particular theological party. They tend to find out the similarities between the Holy Sonnets and some religious predecessors. The social-conspiratorial critics aptly point out that the Holy Sonnets bear the performative and political characteristics, and explore the cultural effects of Donne’s writing. The present study, based on these two approaches, focuses on the theological aspects of the Holy Sonnets. In the second chapter I take the Book of Psalms as a comparative model and classify Donne’s Holy Sonnets into three categories respectively: laments, thanksgivings, and hymns. A large portion of the Holy Sonnets is laments which include complaints, confessions, and pleas for help, and Hymns and thanksgivings are almost completely lacking. Therer are also some “salvation drama” in which the speaker’s tone indicates that hope of salvation is rather detached. I suggest that the tone of the Holy Sonnets indicates the influence of English Calvinism, and I provide a brief introduction of the English Reformation and some features of English Calvinism in the second half of this chapter. In the third chapter I explore relationship between the Holy Sonnets and the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, so as to explain the speaker’s anxiety to find his “mark” of “election,” so as to reassure his eternal identity. “As due by many titles” will be examined in detail, in order to justify my claims. In the first part of the fourth chapter I attempt to demonstrate how Donne by using “paradoxes” in the Holy Sonnets to subvert the stable and philosophical system of Calvinist theology. In the latter part of this chapter, I turn to investigate the how Donne responds o the tension between the Calvinist obsession of finding “marks” of God’s grace and the Catholic theory that “sacraments” (especially the Eucharist) are the very “marks” of God grace. Finally, in my conclusion I claim that the pervasive anxious atmosphere in the Holy Sonnets indicates Donne’s tear and protestation against English Calvinist systematic theology.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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