John Donne’s Devotions upon Emergent Occasions is an autobiographical work which was composed in 1623, during a time when the author was suffering from a life-threatening illness. There is no surviving manuscript of the work and so the first of the five editions printed during the seventeenth century, entered into the Stationers Register on 9 January 1624, has served as a copy text for subsequent editions. Although Donne’s illness remains unknown, it has been suggested that his symptoms could have been consistent with typhus or the seven-day fever (Raspa 1975, p. xiv.)

The work takes the form of devotional prose, which may have found its influence in the Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. Anthony Raspa and Helen Gardner argue convincingly, however, that it is not readily apparent who

1587 words

Citation: Altman, Shanyn Leigh. "Devotions". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 April 2014 [, accessed 11 December 2023.]

5637 Devotions 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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