Afterlife of a Ladies' Man: Sacred and Profane Love in the Poetry of John Donne and Leonard Cohen

Type of resource
Author/collaborator
Title
Afterlife of a Ladies' Man: Sacred and Profane Love in the Poetry of John Donne and Leonard Cohen
Abstract
According to the author, even though they belong to different historical periods, English poet John Donne (1572-1631) and Montreal poet/novelist Leonard Cohen (b.1934) share a number of fascinating biographical similarities, foremost of which is their devotion to a religion - Catholicism in Donne's case, Judaism in Cohen's - which were made profoundly marginal during their lifetimes. The author argues that out of Donne's and Cohen's personal explorations of other religions comes a poetical exploration of the tenuous boundaries between sacred and profane love. The author claims that the strategies which these poets employ to articulate this possibility are remarkably similar. Each constructs a self-divided persona whose ambivalence toward earthly love is the point of departure for a model of love in which body and soul take equal part. What is found is Cohen's and Donne's fascination with the intersection of the spiritual and the material, and the celebration of "transgressivity" as a literary and philosophical virtue, perhaps bred of their own personal transgressions as appertains to their respective faiths.
Type
Master's Thesis
University
Dalhousie University
Place
Halifax, NS
Date
1995
Language
en
Citation
Flynn, Kevin G. “Afterlife of a Ladies’ Man: Sacred and Profane Love in the Poetry of John Donne and Leonard Cohen.” Master’s Thesis, Dalhousie University, 1995.
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