Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




This study of the concepts of woman in the poems, combined with an analysis of the poems' internal structure and content in relation to the literary background, seems to me to be a most profitable approach to the whole of Donne's love poetry. By focusing on the concepts of woman I shall provide a common basis for comparison, since woman figures in all of the poems but one. By summarizing the characteristics of the major literary traditions about love operative in Donne's time, I shall provide information which is essential to understanding the diversity of attitudes in the poems. And by analyzing the internal structure and content, I shall provide an understanding of Donne 's genius I shall compare and contrast his use of traditional concepts and attitudes with others' use in order to reveal his creativity and originality. As Maurice Hussey has noted: "His philosophical ideas were largely familiar to educated people in 1590, but the attitudes taken up towards such inherited concepts are inimitably Donne's own."