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John Donne's Articulations of the Feminine$
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H. L. Meakin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198184553

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198184553.001.0001

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‘The Desire for the Proximate’: Lesbian ‘Likenesse’ in ‘Sapho to Philaenis’

‘The Desire for the Proximate’: Lesbian ‘Likenesse’ in ‘Sapho to Philaenis’

(p.85) 2 ‘The Desire for the Proximate’: Lesbian ‘Likenesse’ in ‘Sapho to Philaenis’
John Donne's Articulations of the Feminine

H. L. Meakin

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines John Donne's lesbian love poem Sappho to Philaenis. It discusses the possible reasons for and implications of this poem's near invisibility and its relegation beyond the margins of Donne's canon. It suggests that Donne's representation of lesbian love arises out of a desire to synthesize the unitive perfections of the marriage relationship and the Renaissance ideal of friendship between equals.

Keywords:   John Donne, Sappho to Philaenis, lesbian love, marriage, friendship

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