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Sometime religious outsider and social disaster, sometime celebrity preacher and establishment darling, John Donne was incapable of being just one thing.
In his myriad lives he was a scholar of law, a sea adventurer, a priest, an MP – and perhaps the greatest love poet in the history of the English language. Along the way he converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, was imprisoned for marrying a sixteen-year old girl without her father’s consent; struggled to feed a family of ten children; and was often ill and in pain. He was a man who suffered from black surges of misery, yet expressed in his verse many breathtaking impressions of electric joy and love.
A wonderful, joyous piece of work . . . with fierce, interrogative intelligence. it is fantastic to have this most elusive and mysterious of men brought out into the light, for all to see. I just loved it.
Fascinating and incisive: spellbinding.
Blazingly intelligent and witty . . . the biographer Donne has been waiting for.
In Rundell, Donne has an authoritative and sympathetic chronicler
Katherine Rundell’s brave and detailed new biography of John Donne is just the book we need: the life, family, historical background, religious questions and - best of all - the poetry, are imaginatively researched and subtly treated. The result is worthy of its subject - every page sparkles.
'A sharply animated and imaginative account of a remarkable figure.'
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