Katherine Rundell

From a standout scholar, a sparkling and very modern biography of John Donne: the poet of love, sex, and death.

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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.

Critic Reviews

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.

Maggie O'Farrell
Critic Reviews

Fascinating and incisive: spellbinding.

John Carey
Critic Reviews

Blazingly intelligent and witty . . . the biographer Donne has been waiting for.

Critic Reviews

In Rundell, Donne has an authoritative and sympathetic chronicler

Critic Reviews

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.

Claire Tomalin
Critic Reviews

'A sharply animated and imaginative account of a remarkable figure.'

Mail on Sunday

Katherine Rundell is a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Her bestselling books for children have been translated into more than thirty languages and have won multiple awards. Rundell is also the author of a book for adults, Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise, and writes occasionally for the London Review of…

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