chapter  6
24 Pages

Satire III and the Satires: John Donne on True Religion, Memory and Community

Browne's meditations on the soul are accompanied by his complex considerations of monsters. For in monsters, Browne argues, there is a kind of beauty, Nature so ingeniously contriving the irregular parts, as they become sometimes more remarkable than the principall Fabrick'. In the 1620s and 1630s, the theological and philosophical significance of the old Aristotelian concern with monsters was newly prominent and unstable. When Browne was at the University of Padua in 1632, the leading Aristotelian was Fortunio Liceti, whose famous treatise on monsters makes the case that in devising monstrosities, the artistry of nature overcomes imperfect material conditions and cleverly fashions another form still more admirable'. The years 163132 drove home both the commonality and the alienation experienced between Jews and Christians in the Venetian Republic. The English Protestants had a similarly ambiguous attitude to the pageantry of the Venetian Republic, but they were rarely indifferent to it.