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The Oxford Handbook of John Donne

Edited by Jeanne Shami, Dennis Flynn, and M. Thomas Hester

21 January 2016

ISBN: 9780198715573

882 pages

In Stock

Oxford Handbooks

Price: £30.00

With over fifty newly commissioned essays from leading international scholars, The Oxford Handbook of John Donne links past scholarship with current and future re-definitions to provide a distinctive response to Donne and the significance of his work, and forms an essential contribution to early modern studies.



With over fifty newly commissioned essays from leading international scholars, The Oxford Handbook of John Donne links past scholarship with current and future re-definitions to provide a distinctive response to Donne and the significance of his work, and forms an essential contribution to early modern studies.

  • Contributing scholars comprise many of the best established scholars in the field as well as emerging new scholars
  • Paired insights of literary scholars and historians to establish biographical and historical contexts
  • Focus on tools for Donne studies (practical, theoretical, conceptual)
  • Comprehensive treatment of every genre in which Donne wrote

About the Author(s)

Edited by Jeanne Shami, Professor of English,, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Dennis Flynn, Professor of English, Bentley University, and M. Thomas Hester, Professor of English, North Carolina State University

Jeanne Shami is Professor of English at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, where she has taught since 1977. In 1992, she discovered a manuscript of a John Donne sermon corrected in his hand. She published a parallel-text edition of this sermon in 1996 (John Donne's 1622 Gunpowder Plot Sermon: A Parallel-Text Edition). Shami is the author of John Donne and Conformity in Crisis in the Late Jacobean Pulpit (D.S. Brewer, 2003) and Renaissance Tropologies: The Cultural Imagination of Early Modern England (Duquesne University Press, 2008). She is past president of the John Donne Society (2002-03) and has won its award for distinguished publication three times (1996, 2000, 2003).

Dennis Flynn is Professor of English at Bentley University and a past president of the John Donne Society. He has published numerous review and articles in Donne studies; authored John Donne and the Ancient Catholic Nobility; and co-edited three volumes in the ongoing Donne Variorum project as well as John Donne's Marriage Letters at The Folger Shakespeare Library.

M. Thomas Hester is Alumni Distinguished Professor of English at North Carolina State University and the author/editor of numerous books and articles on Renaissance literature—-most recently, Donne's Marriage Letters in the Folger Shakespeare Library (with Dennis Flynn and Robert P. Sorlien) and Talking Renaissance Texts: Essays on the Humanist Tradition (with Jeffrey Kahan). At present he is an editor of The Oxford Edition of the Prose Letters of Donne, with Dennis Flynn and Ernest W. Sullivan, II. He is also Editor of The John Donne Journal.

Table of Contents

    List of illustrations and maps
    Note to Readers
    General introduction, Jeanne Shami, M. Thomas Hester and Dennis Flynn
    Part 1: Research resources in Donne studies and why they matter
    Introduction, Jeanne Shami
    The composition and dissemination of Donne's writings, Gary A. Stringer
    John Donne's seventeenth-century readers, Ernest W. Sullivan, II
    Archival research, Lara M. Crowley
    Editing Donne's poetry: part 1: From John Marriot to the Donne Variorum, Gary A. Stringer
    Editing Donne's poetry: part 2: The DonneVariorum and beyond, Richard K. Todd
    Modern scholarly editions of the prose of John Donne, Ernest W. Sullivan, II
    Research tools and their pitfalls for Donne studies, Donald R. Dickson
    Collaboration and the international scholarly community, Hugh Adlington
    Part 2: Donne's genres
    Introduction, Heather Dubrow and M. Thomas Hester
    The epigram, M. Thomas Hester
    The formal verse satire, Gregory Kneidel
    The elegy, R. V. Young
    The paradox, Michael W. Price
    The paradox: Biathanatos, Ernest W. Sullivan, II
    Menippean Donne, Anne Lake Prescott
    The love lyric, Dayton Haskin
    The verse letter, Margaret Maurer
    The religious sonnet, R. V. Young
    Liturgical poetry, Kirsten Stirling
    The problem, Michael W. Price
    The controversial treatise, Graham Roebuck
    The essay, Jeffrey Johnson
    The anniversary poem, Graham Roebuck
    The epicede and obsequy, Claude J. Summers
    The epithalamion, Camille Wells Slights
    The devotion, Kate Narveson
    The sermon, Jeanne Shami
    The prose letter, Margaret Maurer
    Part 3: Biographical and historical contexts
    Introduction, Dennis Flynn and Jeanne Shami
    The English Reformation in the mid-Elizabethan period, Patrick Collinson
    Donne's family background, birth, and early years, Dennis Flynn
    Education as a courtier, Alexandra Gajda
    Donne's education, Dennis Flynn
    Donne's military career, Albert C. Labriola
    The Earl of Essex and English expeditionary forces, Paul E. J. Hammer
    Donne and Egerton: the Court and courtship, Steven W. May
    On late-Elizabethan courtship and politics, Andrew Gordon
    Donne's wedding and the Pyrford years, Dennis Flynn
    New horizons in the early Jacobean period, Anthony Milton
    The death of Robert Cecil: end of an era, Johann Sommerville
    Donne's travel and earliest publications, Dennis Flynn
    Donne's decision to take orders, Jeanne Shami
    The rise of the Howards at court, Alastair Bellany
    The hazards of the Jacobean court, Peter McCullough
    Donne's readership at Lincoln's Inn and the Doncaster embassy, Emma Rhatigan
    International politics and Jacobean statecraft, Malcolm Smuts
    Donne: the final period, Clayton D. Lein
    Donne, the patriot cause, and war, 1620-29, Simon Healy
    The English nation in 1631, Arnold Hunt
    The death of Donne, Alison Shell
    Part 4: Problems of literary interpretation that have been traditionally and generally important in Donne studies
    Introduction, Dennis Flynn
    Donne and apostasy, Achsah Guibbory
    Donne, women, and the spectre of misogyny, Theresa M. DiPasquale
    Donne's absolutism, Debora Shuger
    Style, wit, prosody in the poetry of John Donne, Albert C. Labriola
    Do Donne's writings express his desperate ambition?, Hugh Adlington
    "By parting have joyn'd here ": the story of the two (or more) Donnes, Judith Scherer Herz
    Danger and discourse, Lynne Magnusson


"a fine resource." - Freyja Cox Jensen, Cercles

"It is hard to think of a compilation of fifty original essays containing more concentrated scholarship than these do." - Robert Fraser, Times Literary Supplement

"this collection of articles offers an introduction to the field of Donne studies that would be difficult to equal elsewhere." - Ruth Mills Robbins, Comitatus

"it is impossible to over-praise the ingenuity of Shami, Flynn, and Hester's organizational plan ... The end result is, mirabile dictu, as deft and accessible a compendium of the best of current scholarly thinking about Donne as one could hope to find assembled between two covers. It proves as extraordinary a record of Donne scholarship at what is possibly the peak of its most vital era ... I'm delighted by how firm a purchase of Donne this Handbook allows." - Raymond-Jean Frontain, Spenser Review

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