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From scholar to buccaneer, from outcast to establishment figure, John Donne emerged as one of the greatest English poets. Following Donne from Plague-ridden streets to palaces, from taverns to the pulpit of St Paul's, John Stubbs's "exemplary literary biography" (Harold Bloom) is a vivid portrait of an extraordinary writer and his country at a time of bewildering and cruelFrom scholar to buccaneer, from outcast to establishment figure, John Donne emerged as one of the greatest English poets. Following Donne from Plague-ridden streets to palaces, from taverns to the pulpit of St Paul's, John Stubbs's "exemplary literary biography" (Harold Bloom) is a vivid portrait of an extraordinary writer and his country at a time of bewildering and cruel transformation....

Title : John Donne: The Reformed Soul: A Biography
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ISBN : 9780393333664
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 592 Pages
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John Donne: The Reformed Soul: A Biography Reviews

  • Charles
    2018-11-25 23:32

    John Donne was a modern man. He is full of contradictions, faults, neurotic if not psychotic guilt, confusion, love, hope, and faith. To me, he embodies the Anglican Christian, a role-model. Absolutely every aspect of his life resonates with me. It is sad that there are only echoes of his wife, Ann More. There were so many reasons that this marriage was wrong, marginally legal, scandalous, and a professional drag, yet it remained passionate and sensual. His poetry to his wife indicates a unity of selves in an almost cosmic sense.I must say on a completely personal note, that even though Thomas Merton brought me to Christ, it has been John Donne who has kept me a Christian. Donne's humanity inspires me to hope for more. Our confused and sometimes pitiful lives can embrace great deeds and good deeds too. And along the way there is a God who won't let go.

  • John
    2018-11-15 19:27

    I marvel at the unstinting flow of writing of the highest order from the pens of gifted biographers working today. Mr. Stubbs numbers among these persons, and in this life of John Donne he has given us a clear-eyed and incisive examination of the life of an extraordinarily intelligent man, whose political skill, ingenuity and agility as well as his extraordinary capacity to please, mollify and placate just the right people allowed him to survive and prosper in Stuart England, potentially a highly dangerous place for anyone afflicted with talent and ambition. Highly recommended.

  • John-Paul
    2018-11-18 20:15

    This book probably deserves four stars. Stubbs' writing is learned, balanced, and clean. He knows a lot and he says a lot and he writes well. I recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about John Donne. So why three stars? I usually try to respect an author's own terms and intentions and not play the "This book isn't good because I wish it were something else" game. BUT... I kinda sorta wanted more about the poetry. Stubbs has English lit degrees from Oxford and Cambridge but he doesn't seem to think that poetry requires interpretation or that it matters at all. He has a rather naive assumption about poems just being about an author's feelings, and those feelings are usually "I like this girl" or "I wish I had a better job" or "The people around me are ridiculous." Granted, there are a lot of poems, including poems by John Donne, that carry one or both of those messages. But they're also, y'know, POEMS. They have lots of meanings and patterns and require interpretive work. Stubbs doesn't do that. He has precious little to say about Donne's poetry and instead takes his religious pamphleteering more seriously. And by "seriously" I don't mean that Stubbs cares too much about the ideas in Donne's pamphlets--he cares about how Donne is trying to advance his career by pleasing various political factions while not offending others more than he has to. Because that's why anybody writes anything.What I guess I'm saying is that this biography is, like the biographies of Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt and James Shapiro, operating on the assumption that the men of early modern England were motivated almost entirely by careerism, the purpose of which is for a man of intelligence but middling status to rise in society, own nice things, and associate with powerful people. That is to say, early modern poets are exactly like contemporary elite-university professors. They work hard to please the right people and their overriding anxiety is that they never get promoted or make more money. They actually like their patrons and earnestly seek more favor from them. As for their beliefs, they're totally middle-of-the-roaders who think everyone should let everyone else do and believe whatever they like but they're perfectly willing to take on "extremists" in order to please their benevolent masters. The upside of this approach is one learns a lot about the political and religious controversies of the time, so long as one takes for granted that all religious controversies are really political controversies, and "political" in these cases always means "the competing concerns of nations and interests groups" and not "people who have stuff protecting it from people who don't have stuff." All that matters is how a member of the cognitive elite was able to work the system of economic and administrative elites. The best parts of the book come towards the end. Stubbs is very good on King James and Edward Alleyn, both of whom have personalities that come off as way more interesting than Donne's. Stubbs doesn't end up say too much about Donne's own personality because he's trying to avoid the "randy Jack Donne grew up to be serious Dr. Donne" story that Donne himself promoted, Isaak Walton popularized, and continues through the biographical tradition. Stubbs doesn't want to tell that story even though it seems like the best way of understanding the man.

  • Jane Louis-Wood
    2018-12-09 17:38

    This was a fascinating read, as much for the sense you get of what Jacobean London was like as for the story of the man himself. The pre-fire St Paul's, crossed by a public boulevard where the great and not-so-good gathered to gossip and hear the news sounds such that I wonder if anyone has focused on it in historical fiction. The religious tensions of the time, and their impact on the subject, are explained in cogent and telling detail, without unnecessary depth, without any attempt to fit the man or his times to a particular thesis, forming a genuinely catholic (small c) appraisal of Donne's life and works. Stubbs doesn't speculate away the gaps, or implicitly fabricate the missing testimonies, but lets the spaces resonate. The pen portraits of Donne's contemporaries, especially James I, Buckingham and Laud, and the 'old player' Alleyn are very good indeed.

  • Laura
    2018-12-01 23:16

    I chose to read this book because the title intrigued me. I had a feint knowledge of John Donne. I was not aware that Donne was the author of “no man is an island”, both a concept and a phrase I have been familiar with since high school. I knew enough about him through reading a synopsis of the book to know that this book would contribute to my continued quest for non-fiction that will bring knowledge, insight, and just maybe inspiration to my life. Good choice on my part. I positively enjoyed reading this. It reads like a novel. Stubbs has a writing style that makes, what could have been a very scholarly and dull read, anything but. The book appeals to me in part because John Donne lived during the time of the English Reformation in the 1600's and he was a contemporary of luminaries such as Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth the First. I majored in history in college, so I have a natural affinity for all the history outlined in the story of John Donne. Thanks to TCM and Erroll Flynn films, I had no problem visualizing in my mind many of the events referred to in this book. Stubbs chose to use the old English spelling that Donne and his peers used in their written discourse and correspondence. Sometimes it was a challenge understanding what Donne and his friends were saying, As an example ‘yf” is “if” and “yt” is , you guessed it, “it”. You have to read an entire verse sometimes to figure out what a word is and it is English! I enjoyed reading about this man and to see how he became the “reformed soul” referred to in the title. I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book. “We have within us a torch, a soul, lighter and warmer then any without “ John Donne.

  • Lauren Albert
    2018-12-02 22:16

    Like other reviewers, I was surprised and disappointed at the relative lack of discussion of Donne's poetry. On one hand, Stubbs' point (I think) was that the poetry was not as central to his life as we might imagine. Whether this is true or not, it is why most of us are even reading a biography of Donne. Most people do not know about his sermons and some, I think, probably assume some of his more famous phrases from his sermons are from his poetry. His turn to religion as vocation is important and central to understanding him, especially in contrast to his earlier "self." But the poetry is central to us, most readers, and therefore I think should have been better represented. Perhaps others disagree?

  • loafingcactus
    2018-11-28 19:18

    Fantastic biography of a man who changed so much over the course of his life. No thesis statement of a life is ever accurate, but if a post-hoc unifying myth can be created it surely makes biography easier. Nothing like that is available in this case.Born a Catholic, pragmatically transitioning to the Anglican church, Donne found the extremists on all sides foolish and exemplified in all the contradictions of his life the "middle way" the Anglican church has sought.I came to this book only knowing of Donne's poetry, not knowing there was so much more to the story of how he could be so clear about what people are. So glad to have learned the rest of the story.

  • Steve
    2018-12-11 17:19

    THE modern biography of John Donne. Stubbs does an excellent job describing Donne's time and place and the seething mass of contradictions that made up the man who is still quoted, read, and talked about today.

  • Jessica
    2018-11-20 00:30

    This one took me a while (I always find non-fiction somewhat time consuming), but it was so worth every minute. Stubbs does an incredible job of making biography erudite yet fascinating and accessible.

  • Chad
    2018-12-04 19:27

    The name John Donne was one of those names dropped by high school English teachers enough that students know they are somehow significant, but who never fully materializes. At least, that is how I remember the name Donne being dropped in my own English courses. I remember a clever play on his name: "John Donne, Ann Donne, undone." And I remember his colorful poem "The Flea" somehow comparing intercourse between two lovers to the mixing of their bloods in a flea that had bitten them both:Mark but this flea, and mark in this,How little that which thou deniest me is;It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;Thou know’st that this cannot be saidA sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,Yet this enjoys before it woo,And pampered swells with one blood made of two,And this, alas, is more than we would do....After high school, I tried to read more of his poetry, but I have always had a hard time finding the meaning of the poem, getting lost in odd grammatical structures, anachronisms in spelling and vocabulary. When I found this biography of Donne, I decided I could finally get some of the mystery resolved in what Donne was trying to say. Who was John Donne? This biography does an excellent job at describing a very complex character, with whom I found myself increasingly identifying with as I read. Donne's life covered a tumultuous time in English history, spanning the English Reformation of Henry VIII and the split with the Catholic Church, all the way to the English Civil War, pitting Royalists and Cromwellians against each other. (Not having ever taken a European history course, I appreciated the historical background throughout the book-- especially the fascinating connection Donne had to the Thirty Year's War, when he served as an English chaplain on a failed diplomatic mission to ease tensions when the Protestant Frederick claimed the Bohemian throne over the Catholic Habsburg heir to the throne Ferdinand. LOVED learning this!). John was a Catholic in all of this. Not only was he a Catholic, but his family had a long history of fighting for their beliefs and of being martyrs to the cause. John was expected to continue that tradition. But John was a milder man. He eventually became a cleric in the reigning Reformed Church. But he wasn't weak, giving in to pressures around him; but he was a voice of moderation in a world of polar opposites. He thought that Catholics, with their ceremonies and altars, shouldn't try to undermine the ruling authorities. But he also thought that self-righteous Puritans shouldn't be persecuting Catholics. In our own world of extremes, John Donne's voice of moderation comes off as really refreshing. We increasingly like to portray ourselves as martyrs and accuse and condemn those around us. John believed that we are all connected, that every human being on the earth makes the lives of us all inherently better. He believed we had a duty to our fellow man:"No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."Donne was constantly changing, yet keeping some of himself through all these changes. As the author explains it: "Donne felt obliged to keep reforming, accepting the pressures of the moment while fighting to preserve something essential about himself, something he could call his own soul." He grew up a Catholic, raised to be a lawyer to hide his Catholicism behind his career. He had a stint as a buccaneer, helping to fight the Spanish. He was a bit of a player too, as recorded plainly in his early poetry. He was a hopeless romantic, defying social norms by marrying the young Ann More without her father's approval, losing his job as a secretary in the administration. For several years, he tried to secure a government position by sucking up and making friends, but his colored past was still held against him. Eventually, he finally gave in to the king's desire for him to become a man of the cloth, and became a priest. I think there is a lot that we can learn from Donne in our own day.

  • Brian Willis
    2018-11-29 21:28

    When I was first exposed to Donne's writing in high school, and explored it deeper as an English major, I was struck, as I still am, by how taut, dense, and intricate his syntax is. Nobody that I can think of in the history of English verse, excepting sections of Shakespeare, precisely and concisely expresses intricate and profound thought as well as Donne. The "conceits" as he would have termed it, meaning the associations that Donne makes between love and spirituality, are sublime. One simply has to look at his early songs and sonnets to see this is so; in fact, these works alone guarantee Donne a place among the supreme English poets of all time.But then I learned about another John Donne, one that became the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, and I struggled to reconcile the contradiction in that statement. Here was a man who rose to the level of one of the most respected clergymen in England in the 1620s, whose most famous poems are about the irreconcilable association of physical and sexual love with transcendentalism of the flesh. Those early poems are downright erotic. In fact, Donne was ashamed of those early poems and never published them in his lifetime. Some after his death would denounce them as filthy (don't forget that upon his death in 1631, puritanism was about to control England for the next 30 years). How could a poet whose sensuality is perhaps only matched by Pablo Neruda be one of the most revered clergymen of English history, buried in St. Paul's as a revered religious figure?The beauty of Stubbs's book is that he is able to reconcile these contradictions in a lively, compelling, and compulsively readable prose style. I'm not sure that I have read a book that intricately discusses religious matters and beliefs in such a satisfying way. Stubbs takes the bare facts of Donne's life and is able to thread the narrative with just the right quotes from the works at the right moment, as well as cohesive accounts of ludicrously complicated political and historical events, in a way that illuminates Donne's life and loves and concerns. As with all of the best biographies, I felt that I was inside Donne's mind and knew his thoughts. While this may not be as difficult with his youth, when he grew from a young rapscallion that fought at sea and seduced young women into a secretary of the royal court, it becomes commendable when the biography moves from his loving marriage to his wife Anne and the interior reconcilement of Donne's interior spiritual life. The movement of England from a spiritual life of Catholicism to Protestantism is one of the most complicated movements in history, where most citizens truly felt a combination of allegiances. This was no less true for John Donne. Raised a Catholic, with a mother who died only months before him who never renounced her faith, and with ancestors who in fact died for their beliefs, Donne eventually renounced that faith to become a courtier of sorts and the Protestant Dean of Paul's for the last decade of his life. Stubbs precisely traces the contradictions and the equivocations inherent for Donne and many other similar believers at the time, as well as sets the ground work for the eventual Civil War that was partially based on those fervent religious beliefs.John Donne's life was a constant reformation of his own soul: from sensualist, to survivalist, to loving husband, to secretary and social climber, to sermonizer. Stubbs's superb biography accurately traces all of these guises, and will remain the primary biography of Donne for years to come.

  • Busyknitter
    2018-11-30 16:31

    So this is a biography of John Donne who as well as being one of the greatest poets the English Language has produced, lived, survived, faltered and prospered through the English Reformation. It’s there anything this man did not do? He was the young Catholic student, attending both Oxford and Cambridge under the radar of the Elizabethan persecution. He was a law student, putting himself about town (in every possible way). He was the careerist administrator in Government, the gentleman soldier heading off with the Earl of Essex to the sack of Cadiz, the lovelorn youth with insufficient prospects eloping with his employer’s niece, the exile from influence forced to earn a living by accompanying rich young men on their Grand Tour, and finally the respected clergyman and Dean of St. Paul’s.This is a fascinating book. I don’t pretend to know much about metaphysical poetry, so can’t really comment on how much insight is given to Donne’s creative life. But as a gallop through the life and times of someone who lived through such a tumultuous period of our history, is definitely a recommend. (My one gripe is that I wish they had modernised the spelling where Donne’s writing is directly quoted. I found it distracting and annoying)

  • Zandra
    2018-12-05 18:36

    A fascinating, scholarly, readable biography of a brilliant man. My only reservation is that Donne is presented as being a perfectly rational (modern) man, while sometimes I felt he might have been motivated by deeply irrational and conflicting drives and desires.

  • Rob Markley
    2018-12-03 19:19

    I don't have much appreciation for poetry and didn't expect to like this as much as I did. This shows what a true Christian could be like in time of the Stuarts. Great insight

  • Richard
    2018-11-19 19:43

    Although it's probably quite natural to hope that the biography of a writer will pay substantial attention to its subject's work, this is very much "John Donne: Life" rather than "Mind and Art". On those terms, John Donne: The Reformed Soul is a great success, striking almost a perfect balance between the scholarly and the readable. Although a few of the anecdotes feel a little forced-in, John Stubbs handles both personal and historical detail with great skill, knowing just how much information to introduce, and when to do so; the book is never less than clear, and always fluent. Stubbs obviously likes Donne (as a man), and wants us to like him; and this leads to an appealing and fairly convincing (unless you are a Thomas More, perhaps) central argument that Donne's political and religious pragmatism - he comes across as a man who trod very carefully, whether in Parliament or in the pulpit - is ultimately a lived version of his deepest spiritual and intellectual conviction that "I am involved in mankind". For all its strengths, this book is not an in-depth analysis of Donne's poetry such as that found in, for example, John Carey's John Donne, Life, Mind, and Art. Lovers of the "Songs and Sonnets" and "Holy Sonnets" will probably not find fresh insights here; but Stubbs's book may well entice readers to look more closely at Donne's satires, elegies, verse letters, and occasional poems.One minor quibble: the Norton edition that I read had no illustrations other than its use of the 1595 portrait on the cover. This is a missed opportunity: although it is easy to find such images online these days, pictures of, say, old St Paul's or Donne's funeral portrait and memorial statue would have greatly enhanced the book.

  • Louise
    2018-12-15 21:34

    Donne is a difficult subject, but it's hard to define what "difficult" is a euphemism for. Did the indiscretions of this youth make him an earnest clergyman, or a sycophant? Was his conversion (no ordinary conversion) and later oratorical attitude sincere or was it based on guilt or the necessity of making a living? The poems that live after him reflect a life he all but renounced at the time of his death.Stubb's research yields only lame excuses for Donne's irresponsibility to his family. Ann, whom his poems extol, at 16 years old, gave up everything for him and bore him 10 (12?) children before her death at age 33. He would leave her for travels, be unfaithful (or so the evidence points) and despite his very public professions of love, prefer a burial apart.Marriage and post marriage negotiations for daughter Constance are insulting to her just as not leaving his papers to John Jr. were insulting to his son. Rejecting support when it finally came from his father in law shows more personal pride than concern for the well being of his family. What became of other children is not clear, and not a topic of interest to Donne who leaves no written record expressing concern.The book presents larger issues than the character of Donne: religious persecution, the politics of religion, the rigidity of society, the lure of the new world, the effects of the autocracy of the monarch, the politics of the clergy, the societal consequences of the plague, etc. are all described.I chose this book because of my interest in this historical period more than an interest in Donne. The author did not disappoint in this. There are great descriptions of life of the recusants, adventuring with Essex, the Essex revolt, life as a bureaucrat, church politics, attempts to flee the plague, the status of medicine, etc.. While the peculiarities of King James are noted and Stubbs doesn't speculate as to his reasoning in appointing Donne to head St. Paul's Cathedral, the recount his "job offer" to Donne is hilarious.

  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    2018-12-07 16:30

    ‘No man is an island entire of itself.’In this biography, John Stubbs divides the life of John Donne (1572-1631) into three separate stages. During the first, he grows up (sows those famous wild oats) and then marries. During the second, he tries to obtain secular preferment. Finally, pushed by his friends, patrons and also by King James I, he takes holy orders, finds a religious vocation and becomes Dean of St Paul’s.This biography provides details of the historical setting in which he lived, and of the religious politics which he - with his deep Roman Catholic roots - was never entirely free of. His mother was the great-niece of Sir Thomas More; his brother died as a result of harbouring a priest who was himself executed. At the time of his marriage, John Donne was Chief Secretary to the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal (Sir Thomas Egerton) and quite probably well placed for secular preferment. Alas, his secret marriage to Ann More, niece of Sir Thomas, ruined his career and earned him a brief period in prison.But what of John Donne the man? It is tempting to read his early poems, as John Stubbs does, as reflecting the man himself. It makes Donne an even more romantic – and tragic – figure: torn at times between desire and spiritual devotion. Ann died five days after giving birth to their 12th child (10 of whom survived), after sixteen years of marriage. Donne never remarried.I found this biography very interesting and while I am cautious about the boundary between fact and interpretation, I learned a lot about the life and times of John Donne. And, knowing a little more about the man I feel moved to read more of his poetry.Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  • Mark
    2018-12-06 21:23

    A fascinating book about an extraordinary man. More complex and worldly than George Herbert (his junior by a few decades, although they met occasionally through Herbert's mother Magdalen), occasionally strident, but more nuanced and careful than many of his contemporaries, Donne is magnetic.Stubbs brings his world to life, from the piratical Caribbean to diplomatic missions to the Holy Roman emperor (after the notorious defenestration of Prague), as well as late Elizabethan and Jacobean England, of course. He has a great eye for quirky details.However, having read John Drury's sublime biography of Herbert (Music at Midnight), I found this one slightly wanting. Not Stubbs's fault at all, really, but Drury's book brilliantly integrates many more frequent poetic insight with Herbert's life story - making me appreciate the man and the poems all the more. I just wish there'd been more of that here. Drury set the bar incredibly high.Still - this was very enjoyable and full of insight and has given me renewed hunger for Donne's great poetic legacy. Which makes presumably this book a great success.

  • Shannon
    2018-11-24 17:16

    This is a truly amazing nonfiction read. John Donne has always been a favored poet for me and this biography was an eye-opening learning experience that has extended my understanding of his poetry further than I thought possible. John Donne will forever be an enigma, a modern man existing in a medieval world. Was his conversion an honest appraisal of personal beliefs or a political maneuver? Was his marriage based in love or lust? Were his final years of religious emirsion based in guilt or true belief? Regardless, he lived his life far beyond his time and has left some of the most thought-provoking, enlightening poetry that is qouted by the masses hundreds of years beyond their publication.I have always felt that historical reading from this time period is especially difficult to understand, let alone enjoy. But Stubbs has created something I have not seen before; a comprehensive history of Elizabethan England that is logical without delving entirely into speculation masquerading as fact while still making a potentially dry subject matter entertaining. Now that takes skill. Donne is now a clear focal point within a hazy history.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-12-06 19:27

    This is a well-written biography of the great poet and theologian John Donne. Head's up--if you're interested in an analysis of his poetry--this book is not for you. Although much of his work is quoted, it is a biography.Most of us know Donne as the Dean of St. Paul's, writer of the holy sonnets (and "no man is an island"). This biography gives a wonderful look at a man of many parts--from his early years in a Catholic family, his years as a womanizer, a soldier, a man on the rise--until he loses his place in society because he marries for love (!). Then his many years trying to make a living until he finally accepts the Church (of England). It's a wonderful look at the history of the time seem through one very-important man's life. If you are interested in the period (Elizabeth/James), you'll like this.

  • Jonathan Jordan
    2018-12-13 23:18

    John Stubbs' research in John Donne: The Reformed Soul is so thorough that you will feel dropped into late 15th/early 16th century England. Littered and lined with historical comings-and-goings that bring to life the world of one of the English language's very best poets. The last fourth of the book suffers somewhat from becoming a bit too overextended in its' subjects latter years, but overall, a great read that should be given plenty of time to digest. Definitely a welcome volume on the bookshelf that has helped me find many new reasons to enjoy Donne's writing, whether it be his poetry or sermons.

  • Robert
    2018-12-03 00:26

    A very informative biography. The description of events and characters draws one into era of the late 1500's and early 1600's. A substantive account of this poet whose words still echo in the modern age. The narrative is well paced and helps to evoke the struggles of this man who was torn by desire and commitment. There is little analysis of his work but the stories of his life brought me new insights into his poetry. Overall, an engaging portrait.

  • Wayne
    2018-12-05 20:35

    Intriguing biography of a fascinatingly complex character. Donne gave us the famous lines: "no man is an island...; for whom the bell tolls," as well as poems like 'Death be not proud'. Stubbs rates him as perhaps the most influential English poet.Despite this I must say I found this biography heavy going at times. I almost lost interest half way but in the second half of the book was marking pages and taking notes. Definitely worth the EB sale price I paid for it.

  • Elaine Dowling
    2018-11-16 22:32

    Excellent biography that paints a thorough and compelling portrait of a man I thought I knew something about. I will caution you that the author relies fairly heavily on what Donne was writing at any given time to provide insight into what he was thinking and doing. This is a fundamentally flawed methodology, but when added to what is actually known it fleshes out a figure who is otherwise shrouded by the passage of one too many centuries.

  • David A-S
    2018-12-13 19:29

    Stubbs is thorough and his prose is engaging. Trying to fill the gap of a man of letters 350 years deceased must be daunting, but his deciphering of personal letters, contextualized poetry, and friendly hagiography shapes Donne. In drawing an enigmatic or at least dynamic figure, Stubbs inspires his readers to consider their own contradictions and lifestyle changes.

  • Gloria monaghan
    2018-11-23 19:35

    This is a wonderful look into 17th Century England, but also into highly detailed life of the lover/poet John Donne. The author seems to be somehow spiritually or telepathically connected to the dead poet. It is not merely a romantic approach to his life and work, but a careful scholarly study of his work and time period-fascinating.

  • Stephen Bywater
    2018-11-16 18:31

    A scholarly take on the poet's life.

  • Raoul Jones
    2018-12-13 16:25

    I'm no island.

  • Joe
    2018-12-07 19:19

    If you enjoy Donne's poetry you will find this biography enjoyable. Even Donne was a young man, once.

  • Sarah
    2018-11-25 20:41

    Unfinished, but I am quite sure from bits I've read that when I read it I will be undone, yet have need of more. Basically, I desperately want this, and even more desperately need to finish it.