John Donne’s A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning: A Deconstructive Reading

Abdulqawi A. S. Altobbai


This article attempts to re-read John Donne’s ‘A Valediction Forbidding Mourning’ from a deconstructive perspective. The purpose of re-reading the poem is to question its coherence and its organic unity. This is done through a close reading of the poem. The objective is to unmask internal contradictions and inconsistencies in order to show the incoherence that underlies its apparent unity. The effect of witty analogies, comparisons, images and even words is examined. In this process the implications associated with the situations involved in the analogies are to be taken into consideration. The way certain associations, implications and undercurrents contradict or undermine the apparently consistent argument of the poem is to be foregrounded. Through this deconstructive reading, the article finds that the poem could be read as a fine specimen of rhetoric but it clearly lacks in logicality and consistency.


Donne, Valediction, Inconsistencies, Undercurrents, Deconstructive, Incoherence

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