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John Donne John Donne


Poet and Priest


His Life through his Poetry, Sermons and Devotions

  1. The Shape of His Life:  Go and catch a Falling Star, Air and Angels, No Man is an Island and The Bait
  2. His Early Life, Lincoln's Inn and the Death of his Brother, Henry:  To His Mistress Going to Bed, Farewell to Love and A Verse Letter to Mr. E. G.
  3. The Sacking of Cadiz and the Voyage to the Azores:   His Picture, The Storm and The Calm
  4. Secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton and The Courting of Ann More: The Third Satire, The Flea, The Ecstacy and The Good Morrow
  5. Marriage to Ann More: The Canonization, The Sun Rising, Woman's Constancy and Love's Infiniteness
  6. Thwarted Ambition and the Journal of a Soul: Sweetest love, I do not go, On His Mistress, The Annunciation and the Passion and Holy Sonnets 1 and 10
  7. Absence from Family and Ann's Ghost: A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning and On the Progress of the Soul
  8. Ann's Death, The Dean of St. Paul's and For Whom the Bell Tolls: Riding Westward, Good Friday 1613, Hymn to Christ, at the Author's Last Going Into Germany, Holy Sonnet 17, Holy Sonnet 18 and No Man is an Island

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We recommend four biographies: the outstanding Donne, The Reformed Soul by John Stubbs.  Robert Nye writes: "It is the best life of Donne, which I for one have ever read.  If this marvellous book doesn't win one of the major literary prizes, then we have the wrong judges."

A. N. Wilson: "The book is crammed with things I did not know...  We are given a colourful picture of the age, in which England was made and without which you could understand nothing about this country".

We also recommend Man of Flesh and Spirit by David L Edwards, former Speaker's Chaplain in the House of Commons, and John Donne, Life, Mind and Art by John Carey, former Chairman of the Manbooker Prize and very successful beekeeper, and of course the first biography by Izaak Walton, who also wrote the classic, The Compleat Angler.