In Samuel Johnson’s The Life of Cowley, he discusses the metaphysical conceits and their use. Largely, he criticizes metaphysical conceits in his work.
Read more:Comment on Dr. Samuel Johnson as a critic and biographer.
Conceit is a comparison between two far-fetched things. It is an extended metaphor. It refers that the intellectual comparison that occurs between two unlike things and innovates a new meaning. It is a notable feature of metaphysical poetry. Generally, metaphysical poets use conceits in their poems. While using conceits, a poet showcases wit, intellect, and profound knowledge.
Johnson mentions that including John Donne, Marvel, Vaughn, and Cowley also used conceits. He criticizes the conceits as weird and irrational. By using conceits, metaphysical poets fail to follow the actual structure of Aristotle’s poetry. Their poems are far from real life. He tries to establish that metaphysical poetry cannot satisfy the reader and soothe the reader’s heart in the way that a harmonious, coherent, and beautiful literary work can. Dr. Johnson considers conceits as “the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together”.
Read more:Write on Burke’s Prose Style.
It can be said that he bitterly criticizes metaphysical conceits and their use.