John Donne

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John Donne (pronounced /ˈdʌn/ dun; 21 January 1572 – 31 March 1631) was an English poet, preacher and a major representative of the metaphysical poets of the period. His works are notable for their realistic and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially as compared to that of his contemporaries. John Donne's masculine, ingenious style is characterized by abrupt openings, paradoxes, dislocations, argumentative structure, and "conceits"--images which yoke things seemingly unlike. These features in combination with his frequent dramatic or everyday speech rhythms, his tense syntax, and his tough eloquence were both a reaction against the smoothness of conventional Elizabethan poetry and an adaptation into English of European baroque and mannerist techniques. His early career was marked by poetry that bore immense knowledge of British society and he met that knowledge with sharp criticism. Another important theme in Donne’s poetry was the idea of true religion, which was something that he spent a lot of time considering and theorizing about. He wrote secular poems as well as erotic poems and love poems. Donne is particularly famous for his master of metaphysical conceit.[2]

Despite his great education and poetic talents, he lived in poverty for several years, relying heavily on wealthy friends. He spent much of the money he inherited during and after his education on womanizing, literature, pastimes and travel. In 1601 Donne secretly married Anne Moore with whom he had 12 children.[3] In 1615 he became an Anglican priest although he didn’t want to take Anglican orders, he did so because King James I persistently ordered it. In 1621, he was appointed the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London. He also served as a member of parliament in 1601 and again in 1614.


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