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Contrast of pre-Twentieth Century Love Poetry

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Introduction

Contrast of pre-Twentieth Century Love Poetry In the pre-twentieth century societies there were different views and approaches to love, for example contrasting approaches to virginity. In this essay I will compare and contrast four pre-1914 essays. There are some features which may be expected to he found in pre-twentieth century poetry. For example, imagery was mainly nature-based, evolving around things such as time, weather, with religion being a popular choice as it played a much more significant part of people's lives then compared to now. With romantic poets other themes/imagery are likely to be the cosmos, dreams, heart and soul etc. I expect the poems to be metrical, with pre-twentieth century poetry often having an iambic pentameter, in particular with love poetry. An example of a typical poem would be a sonnet used to address love, with 14 lines, an octet and sestet, iambic pentameter and nature-based imagery. One way in which the poems differ is in their use of imagery. A good example of this is how 'To Autumn' (written by John Keates, considered by Tennyson as the 19th century's greatest poet), which although not strictly a love poem, is still contains many of the features of the other poems and therefore suitable for comparison. ...read more.

Middle

However, this poem does use imagery very effectively to try and seduce the character. The use of imagery is very different to 'To Autumn' - whilst to Autumn, as said earlier, uses pleasant, positive imagery, 'To His Coy Mistress' uses much more powerful, violent imagery (at least, in the last stanza).Examples include 'like amorous birds of prey....devour'; 'tear our pleasures' and 'slow-chapt'. A reason for this could be that the narrator is suggesting vigorous sex, and also to significantly contrast with the 2 previous stanzas. Although this may be seen as ironic, talking about death and violence in a love poem, I think that it is effective because it shows that the couple-to-be have no time to waste, and must hurry to make love before this somewhat gruesome end comes. Also interesting is how this poem shows how different the pre-twentieth century society's attitudes were compared to today's. In this poem his mistress is shy and doesn't want to lose hr virginity - in the society when it was written, loss of virginity and in particular pre-marital sex was considered morally wrong, and courting was often a very slow, 'official' process - very different to today's world. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, it is perhaps different to a typical sonnet in that the character is negatively defined. The poem 'To His Coy Mistress' is also generally typical of the love poem genre (iambic pentameter, rhyming couplets), but then also very different to what might be expected because the narrator vividly talks about a gruesome death in the second stanza, with words such as 'worms shall try thy long preserved virginity' (i.e. 'worms will eat you'); 'quaint honour turn to dust' and 'into ashes all my lust'. 'The Flea' also has a strange feature, the flea itself being very strange for use in a love poem. 'The Sick Rose' is extremely different to a usual love poem' It is very blunt (just 8 lines), to get his blunt powerful point across. It uses forceful, violent imagery such as 'howling storm' and 'destroy', which certainly isn't normal for a love poem. Blake doesn't use rhyming couplets or iambic pentameter in this poem, further separating it from a typical love poem and emphasizing his message. These similarities and contrasts in features like imagery and voice have shown that authors have different views of love and different ways of showing those views. This difference in views is also shown by the variation in how the poems fit to their typical genres. ...read more.

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