A searching contribution to the study of what gurative language is and how it works, this book is a guide to the sophisticated and powerful artistry of the seventeenth-century English poets who have come to be known by the misleading name of "Metaphysicals." Harold Skulsky argues that "Metaphorists" is the more apt label. After exploring the dramatic and transactional theory of figurative language that these poets owe to the traditions they share, Skulsky gives close and carefully argued readings of their major poems. We watch metaphor being enacted rather than made in a high-stakes game of cue and response between writer and reader, a game sustained by a network of mutual understandings. In effect, Skulsky provides a reader-friendly manual of the skills we need to be players.