Difference between the intellectual poet and reflective poets

Difference between the intellectual poet and reflective poets

Question: Distinguish between the intellectual poet and reflective poets?


As Eliot fixes the goal that he will abolish all the overdone misconceptions about the metaphysical school of poetry, he introduces a new term in his essay that is known as ‘reflective and intellectual poet’. He distinguishes between the intellectual poet and the reflective poet in his famous critical essay “The Metaphysical Poets” to declare the superiority of the metaphysical poets.


Eliot clearly defines that the poets who are passionate thinkers are called intellectual poets. To put it differently, the metaphysical poets are intellectual poets. But the poets who are deeply thoughtful but separated from passion and emotion are called reflective poets.

Versification technique

Eliot deeply suggests that the metaphysical poets have achieved their versification technique from their predecessors of sixteenth-century dramatists who were the master of ‘mechanism of sensibility’. On the other hand, the reflective poets especially Tennyson and Browning as a writer of dramatic monologue are the followers of the intellectual poets.

Dissociation of sensibility

The term ‘dissociation of sensibility’ has been coined out by Eliot in his essay. Dr. Johnson blames the intellectual poets in the following manner:

‘the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together’

Such blame recommends that the metaphysical poets were the first to separate thought and passion. But it is crystal clear that the reflective poets are engulfed with dissociation of sensibility, but the intellectual poets are the lord of unification of sensibility.

Diction vs feeling

Eliot presents a unique discovery between the intellectual poets and the reflective poets in case of use of language.

Click here: For all the notes of Literary Criticism


In a nutshell, it can be said that though Eliot is not starkly accurate in differentiating between the intellectual poets and the reflective poets, his intention is perfect because he has just wanted to show that the metaphysical poets are the inevitable part of the galaxy of English literature.

Ruhul Huda
Ruhul Huda

You can call me Mr. Huda. I am a researcher and doing this work for years. I like to learn everywhere. So, feel free to share your experience with me.

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