John Donne

John Donne ( /ˈdʌn/ DUN) (between 24 January and 19 June 1572 – 31 March 1631) was an English poet, satirist, lawyer and a cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are noted for their strong, 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 compared to that of his contemporaries. Donne's style is characterised by abrupt openings and various paradoxes, ironies and dislocations. These features, along 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 is the idea of true religion, something that he spent much time considering and theorising about. He wrote secular poems as well as erotic and love poems. He is particularly famous for his mastery of metaphysical conceits.

Despite his great education and poetic talents, Donne 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 womanising, literature, pastimes, and travel. In 1601, Donne secretly married Anne Moore, with whom he had twelve children. In 1615, he became an Anglican priest, although he did not 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 in 1614.

Read more about John Donne:  Style, Legacy, Donne in Literature, Donne in Popular Culture, Bibliography

Famous quotes containing the words john and/or donne:

    In the years of the Roman Republic, before the Christian era, Roman education was meant to produce those character traits that would make the ideal family man. Children were taught primarily to be good to their families. To revere gods, one’s parents, and the laws of the state were the primary lessons for Roman boys. Cicero described the goal of their child rearing as “self- control, combined with dutiful affection to parents, and kindliness to kindred.”
    —C. John Sommerville (20th century)

    God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice.
    —John Donne (c. 1572–1631)