John Donne

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Donne (1573-1631), known now as one of England’s finest poets of love and notable in his own time as an astonishing preacher. He was born a Catholic in a Protestant country and, when he married Anne More without her father’s knowledge, Donne lost his job in the government circle and fell into a poverty that only ended once he became a priest in the Church of England. As Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, his sermons were celebrated, perhaps none more than his final one in 1631 when he was plainly in his dying days, as if preaching at his own funeral.

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  • Mary Ann Lund 2 episodes
    Associate Professor in Renaissance English Literature at the University of Leicester
  • Sue Wiseman No other episodes
    Professor of Seventeenth Century Literature at Birkbeck, University of London
  • Hugh Adlington No other episodes
    Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham

Reading list

  • John Donne: A Life
    R. C. Bald (Clarendon Press, 1970) Google Books →
  • John Donne: Life, Mind and Art
    John Carey (Faber and Faber, 1990) Google Books →
  • John Donne's Professional Lives
    David Colclough (ed.) (D. S. Brewer, 2003) Google Books →
  • Mediatrix: Women, Politics and Literary Production in Early Modern England
    Julie Crawford (Oxford University Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Major Works
    John Donne (ed. John Carey) (Oxford World's Classics, 2008) Google Books →
  • The Complete Poems of John Donne
    John Donne (ed. Robin Robbins) (Pearson Longman, 2010) Google Books →
  • Ignatius His Conclave
    John Donne (ed. Timothy Healy) (Clarendon Press, 1969) Google Books →
  • Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
    John Donne (ed. Anthony Raspa) (McGill-Queen's University Press, 1975) Google Books →
  • Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Together with Death's Duel
    John Donne (University of Michigan, 1959) Google Books →
  • Sermons on the Psalms and Gospels
    John Donne (ed. Evelyn Simpson) (University of California Press, 1963, repr. 2003) Google Books →
  • Donne's Augustine: Renaissance Cultures of Interpretation
    Katrin Ettenhuber (Oxford University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to John Donne
    Achsah Guibbory (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • Donne's Convalescence
    Mary Ann Lund ( Renaissance Studies 31, 2017)
  • John Donne, Coterie Poet
    Arthur Marotti (University of Wisconsin Press, 1986) Google Books →
  • The Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne
    Peter McCullough (ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2013 onwards)
  • The Sermons of John Donne
    George Potter and Evelyn Simpson (eds.) (University of California Press, 1953-1962) Google Books →
  • John Donne: An Annotated Bibliography of Modern Criticism, 1912-2008
    John R. Roberts (ed.) (University of Missouri Press, 1973-2018) Google Books →
  • Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne
    Katherine Rundell (Faber and Faber, 2022) Google Books →
  • The Oxford Handbook of John Donne
    Jeanne Shami, Dennis Flynn, and M. Thomas Hester (eds.) (Oxford University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • John Donne: The Critical Heritage
    A. J. Smith (ed.) (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975) Google Books →
  • The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne
    Gary Stringer, Jeffrey Johnson et al. (eds.) (Indiana University Press, 1995 onwards) Google Books →
  • Donne: The Reformed Soul
    John Stubbs (Penguin, 2007) Google Books →
  • John Donne: Body and Soul
    Ramie Targoff (University of Chicago Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • John Donne's "Desire of More": The Subject of Anne More Donne in His Poetry
    M. Thomas Hester (ed.) (University of Delaware Press, 1996) Google Books →

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Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, John Donne is best known now as one of England's finest poets of love, and in his own time as an astonishing preacher with an exceptional mind and remarkable life.