No Man is an Island: Interdependent Conceptions of Selfhood in Wyatt, Donne, and Milton
Wyatt, Thomas, Sir, 1503?-1542 , Donne, John, 1572-1631 , Milton, John, 1608-1674 , subjectivity , selfhood , poetics of the self , interdependency , English poetry -- 16th century -- History and criticism , English poetry -- 17th century -- History and criticism
This doctoral dissertation examines interdependent conceptions of selfhood in the works of Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542), John Donne (1572-1631), and John Milton (1608-1674). While previous studies of selfhood in the Renaissance have been dominated largely by conceptions of the self based on autonomy, nascent individuality, and agency – or the lack thereof – the present dissertation argues that these three Renaissance writers conceived of the self in interdependent terms, emphasizing instead the value of the community and interpersonal relationships in the experience of selfhood in their poetry. Through a close analysis of each writer as a case study involving conceptions of the self in dialogue with particular discourses (such as Stoicism, Anglican irenicism, and Italianate Republicanism), this dissertation argues that it is only through examining Renaissance selfhood in terms of interdependency that we can begin to accurately understand how the self was conceived of and experienced in the period.