Writers and their Work, New Series
John Donne
Northcote House (in association with the British Council), Plymouth 1994
... highly readable and rewardingly provocative.
In-Between: Essays & Studies in Literary Criticism

This study covers the full range of Donne's poetry, from the early Satires and Elegies to the Songs and Sonets and Divine Poems, and includes analysis of parts of his memorable Sermons. Stevie Davies challenges the traditional assumptions relating biography with the author's work, emphasising the Renaissance scepticism which brought all belief, including the 'self', into doubt. However, her close, sensitive readings of individual poems allow for personal reactions to their profound emotion, whilst her exploration of the cultural, religious, and political circumstances which conditioned the poet's mind give bearings for study of his turbulent, brilliant intelligence. Dr Davies challenges the tradition of male criticism which congratulates Donne on the 'virility' of his writing: she exposes his misogyny and the emotional conflict and vulnerability to which it attaches. The reader will find here a powerfully written and accessible introduction to Donne's work.


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John Donne

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