John Donne

(3144 words)
  • David Reid (University of Stirling)

The trouble with the world that marks Donne's poetry started with his birth into a Catholic family. His education, his talents and his ambition drew him to make a career in the service of a state that was persecuting Catholics, but at the moment when he seemed prepared to enter that political world his marriage exiled him from it. Only after 13 years vainly courting the great for the sort of job he felt should be his, an ambassadorship, say, such as his friend Sir Henry Wotton had held, did he take orders in the Church of England, and to that extent find a place for himself in the political and ecclesiastical establishment. But as a churchman, even if a pillar of the establishment, he remained half in and half out of the world, a “…

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Reid, David. "John Donne". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 October 2001
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]

Articles on Donne's works

  1. Anniversaries
  2. Devotions
  3. Ignatius his Conclave
  4. LXXX Sermons
  5. Poems by John Donne. With elegies on the author's death
  6. Pseudo-Martyr
  7. The Progress of the Soul: Metempsychosis

Related Groups

  1. The Sonnet Tradition