English 165

Special Topics: Donne: Poetry, Prose, Letters

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2014 Marno, David
MW 4-5:30 221 Wheeler

Book List

Donne, John, (ed. A.J. Smith): The Complete English Poems

Other Readings and Media

Additional materials will be available on BSpace.


“I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I did, till we loved?” Fresh, intimate, vulnerable and yet tyrannical: Donne’s voice demands our full attention -- but rarely receives it. Writing between Shakespeare and Milton, Donne is the underdog of the English Renaissance. And yet in this course we’ll see that he rewards the attention he receives. Donne is a writer of extremes and contradictions: a “great visitor of Ladies” in his youth, later he became the foremost preacher in London; his poetry and prose are simultaneously salacious and spiritual, irreverent and devout, playful and yet rigorous. It is precisely in the extremes and in the contradictions that his writings offer not only an insight into life’s possibilities in early modern England, but a perspective on the process of becoming modern. Indeed, perhaps no other author documented the experience of secularization and modernity as faithfully as Donne. In this course, we will read his love poetry, his satires on early modern social life in London, his religious verse, as well as selections from his sermons, pamphlets, and letters.

This course is open to English majors only.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.


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