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John Donne and the Protestant Reformation

New Perspectives

Edited by Mary Arshagouni Papazian

Early Modern History and Literature, Literary Criticism and Theory, Religion

Hardback
Published: July 2003
ISBN: 9780814330128
Pages: 400 Size: 6x9
$45.95
eBOOK
Published: July 2003
ISBN: 9780814337592
Review

This collection of essays might be seen as a landmark in Donne studies. In many respects—argument, contributors, methodology—it sums up the dominant revisionist trends in Donne scholarship over the past fifteen years.

— Modern Philology

The early transition from Catholicism to Protestantism was a complicated journey for England, as individuals sorted out their spiritual beliefs, chose their political allegiances, and confronted an array of religious differences that had sprung forth in their society since the reign of Henry VIII. Inner anxieties often translated into outward violence. Amidst this turmoil the poet and Protestant preacher John Donne (1572–1631) emerged as a central figure, one who encouraged peace among Christians. Raised a Catholic but ordained in 1615 as an Anglican clergyman, Donne publicly identified himself with Protestantism, and yet scholars have long questioned his theological orientation. Drawing upon recent scholarship in church history, the authors of this collection reconsider Donne’s relationship to Protestantism and clearly demonstrate the political and theological impact of the Reformation on his life and writings.

The collection includes thirteen essays that together place Donne broadly in the context of English and European traditions and explore his divine poetry, his prose work, the Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and his sermons. It becomes clear that in adopting the values of the Reformation, Donne does not completely reject everything from his Catholic background. Rather, the clash of religion erupts in his work in both moving and disconcerting ways. This collection offers a fresh understanding of Donne’s hard-won irenicism, which he achieved at great personal and professional risk.

Mary Arshagouni Papazian is an Associate Professor of English and Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at Oakland University.

Contributors Include:
Annette Deschner, Brent Nelson, Catherine Gimelli Martin, Chanita Goodblatt, Daniel W. Doerksen, Elena Levy-Navarro, Gale H. Carrithers, Jr., James D. Hardy, Jr., Jeanne Shami, Jeffrey Johnson, Maria Salenius, Paul R. Sellin, Raymond-Jean Frontain

This collection of essays might be seen as a landmark in Donne studies. In many respects-argument, contributors, methodology-it sums up the dominant revisionist trends in Donne scholarship over the past fifteen years."

– Modern Philology