The life of John Donne

The life of John Donne

DEATH, THOU SHALT DIE: the life of John Donne

John Donne rose from abject poverty to become Dean of St Pauls, and from being an unknown figure whose poetry circulated only in manuscript to being a distinguished man of the Church deeply uneasy to remember that in his youth he had written the greatest and most erotic love poetry of his or any other time. In his own century his poems circulated only in manuscript, and for the following two centuries and more though his sermons (among the finest prose writing of the seventeenth century) were revered, his poetry was neglected. The twentieth century however began to recognise his virtues, and he is now properly regarded as a major English poet – some critics would say the greatest English poet.

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