"Is the Pacifique Sea my home?":John Donne's Hymns

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Title: "Is the Pacifique Sea my home?":John Donne's Hymns
Author: Zumbach, Eric Hudson
Advisors: R. V. Young, Committee Member
M. Thomas Hester, Committee Chair
Nick Halpern, Committee Member
Abstract: Scholars have traditionally regarded John Donne's three Hymns as independent works of devotional or meditative verse. This study proposes that Donne's Hymns are read properly as a tripartite sequence, one which addresses the poet's desire for a spiritual union with Christ. Before that union may occur, Donne must "tune the Instrument" of his soul by submitting his fallen will to the will of Christ. The Hymns are that "tuning," that labor of submission. As they unfold, the Hymns present the drama of Donne's piety wrestling with his aggressive will, and his transformation from a self-serving rake dedicated to his "Iland" of "false mistresses" into a Christ-serving religious. Until the last line of the Hymns, Donne seems to have won spiritual security: he has prayed for release from his "Iland," he has "embrace[d]" the body and blood of Christ, and he has confessed his "sinne of feare," despair. However, the final line of the Hymns, "I have no more," seems to unravel Donne's spiritual work. His final perplexing, ambiguous line could indicate (among many other meanings) that he has fully transformed, or that he has abandoned the enterprise altogether. "I have no more," an enunciation of Donne's fallen will, proves if anything that the work of the soul is never complete.
Date: 2003-08-01
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1384


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