The term unification of sensibility was first used by Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888- 1865) in his famous essay “The Metaphysical Poets“. It refers to the way in which intellectual thought was separated from the experience of feeling in the seventeenth century.
More Notes: The Metaphysical Poets
A clear concept of unification of sensibility:
The unification of sensibility should be clarified so that we can appreciate the intellectual or metaphysical poets very well and conspicuously. The term “unification of sensibility” means Fusion of thought and feeling by the early Jacobean poets, especially by John Donne first. By this term, Eliot links the modern poets and metaphysical poets.
Unification of thought and feeling:
The most important characteristic of Metaphysical Poetry is the unification of thought and feeling- the fusion of intellect and emotion. The Metaphysical Poets use metaphysical conceit which is an extended metaphor where the poets try to make similarity between two dissimilar objects or events by drawing ideas from remote and unfamiliar sources.The unification of sensibility to produce good poetry. “A Valediction Forbidding Morning” is a superb example of unification of sensibility in which the poet compares two lovers to a pair of compasses. According to Donne,
“If they be two, they are two so,
As stiff twin compasses are two
Thy soul the fixed foot, makes no show,
To move, but doth, if th’ other do….”
Fusion of intellect and emotion:
The world of love and the external world are juxtaposed. And the little world of the lovers is said to be a microcosm of the outside world. Thus, the world of love has been glorified by means of a conceit which proves, Donne’s faculty in the fusion of intellect and emotion. Thus, the unification of sensibility occurs in the Metaphysical poetry.
From the light of the above discussion, it can be said that Eliot is not only a genius critic but also a founder of intellectual poets in the mind of the readers forever by the dint of his term unification of sensibility.