John Donne: An Influential English Poet

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John Donne, one of the greatest English poets and preachers of the 1600’s, greatly impacted the writing field through his works. In the first half of 1572 (actual date is unknown) he was born in London to John Donne, a merchant, and Elizabeth Heywood Donne, the daughter of the poet and playwright John Heywood. His father died when Donne was about four years old. His younger brother, Henry, also died in John Donne’s early life. John Donne was raised in a Catholic family. Both of his parents were devout Roman Catholics. During Donne’s early adult life he converted to Anglicanism. The education of John Donne is somewhat confusing because the records are incomplete. There is record of his attending Cambridge and Oxford, but he never…show more content…
The few works which were published during his lifetime were only given to specific circles of people. His first published poem is Pseudo-Martyr which was dedicated to King James. His most famous collection of love poems is the Anniversaries which are dedicated to his wife; the anniversary is of her death. Songs and Sonnets, his best known set of poems; “The Canonization;” and “The Extasie” are other famous love poems of Donne. For religious poetry, the series Holy Sonnets includes three of Donne’s most famous poems including “Batter my heart, three person’d God,” “Death be not proud,” and “Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward.” Poetry is not all that Donne wrote. He was also a preacher and a few of his sermons are added to his collection of prose which is mainly religiously focused. Through his sermons and devotion books, his artistry of his poems shines through. His series of devotions two of which are Devotions and Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions were written when he became deathly ill, but he did recover slowly. This near death experience made death tangible in his mind and was a great source of inspiration for his writings. Edited by Logan Pearsall Smith, Donne’s Sermons: Selected Passages contains several of his sermons and was considered by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch “’The most significant prose ever uttered from an English pulpit,
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