Poetry: The Last of the Metaphysicals

  • John Hoyles
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas/ Archives internationales d’histoire des ideés book series (ARCH, volume 39)


Norris wrote practically no poetry after 1687. Perhaps like Coleridge he found good poetry and good philosophy incompatible, but no more than Coleridge did he pursue poetry as a side-track while maintaining his main interest elsewhere. It may be that Norris’s poetry would be less easily identifiable with the Metaphysical tradition had he gone on writing verse after 1687, but as it is, even as the last of the Metaphysicals, Norris reveals an involvement in the forces and forms of poetry which succeeded the Metaphysical tradition. This is inevitable given the date of Norris’s poetry; what is remarkable is that Norris’s poems are so strongly and homogeneously marked by the Metaphysical tradition.


18th Century Direct Address Aesthetic Theory Metaphysical Tradition Modern Language Association 
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  1. 3.
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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1971

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  • John Hoyles

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