John Donne

Author: John Donne

Profile: John Donne was an English poet, priest, secretary, soldier, scholar and lawyer. He was born in London, England to a Catholic family but later, very reluctantly became a cleric in a Church of England. He rose to the status of Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. He completed his education at the Hart Hall and Oxford University of Cambridge. Characteristics of his working style include various dislocations, ironies, paradoxes and abrupt openings.

Poetry containing extensive knowledge of English society attracting sharp criticism, marked his early career. The idea of true religion is another vital theme in his poetry. Besides being especially famous for his mastery of metaphysical conceits, he has been a writer of erotic, love and secular poems. For many years he lived in poverty despite poetic talent and great education and was dependant on rich friends. Much of the inherited money he spent on travel, pastimes, literature and womanizing. After marrying Anne More from whom he had 12 children he was ordained deacon in 1615 and later an Anglican priest which he did as per the orders of the King. In 1601 and 1614 he served as Member of Parliament.

Writing style: John Donne’s genre includes elegy, satire, sermons covering subjects like poetry, love, religion, love, sexuality and death. John Donne is considered to be the leading representative of the metaphysical poets. Most of his poetical works are well known for their sensual and metaphorical style. His works include religious poems, love poems, sonnets, sermons, Latin elegies, translations, songs, epigrams and satires.

Published Texts:

1608 – Biathanatos

1610 – Pseudo-Martyr

1611 – Ignatius His Conclave

1624 – Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

1633 – Poems


Awards and Acknowledgements:

John Donne was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity from Cambridge University in 1615. The same year he became Royal Chaplain and in 1616 he became reader of divinity at Lincolns where he served till 1622 as minister in the chapel.