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222 × 145 × 20 mm
248 pages
33 illustrations, 21 in colour
12 Apr 2021
Renaissance Lives

John Donne In the Shadow of Religion Andrew Hadfield

John Donne: In the Shadow of Religion explores the life of one of the most significant figures of the English Renaissance. The book not only provides an overview of Donne’s life and work, but connects his writing and thinking to the ideas, institutions and networks that influenced him.

The book shows how Donne’s faith underpinned his career, from aspirational courtier to phenomenally successful clergyman and preacher, when he became dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Donne emerges as a figure obsessed with himself, tormented by the fear that his transgressions may have condemned him to eternal damnation.

This fine new account uses Donne’s correspondence, writing and poetry to give a rounded portrait of a bold, experimental thinker, who was never afraid of taking risks that few others would have countenanced.

‘The great achievement of Andrew Hadfield’s John Donne: In the Shadow of Religion, and what sets it apart, is how convincingly it connects the seemingly disparate strands of Donne’s life and work – his lifelong struggle with matters of the soul, his paradoxical erotic and religious poetry, his marriage, his friendships, his sermons – allowing us to see above all Donne the brilliant and restless thinker.’ — James Shapiro, author of 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

‘Andrew Hadfield’s exemplary study of John Donne – a notoriously ‘difficult’ writer – is lucid and informative, yet always ready to probe towards new interpretations. Exploring lesser-known corners of Donne’s extensive output, he celebrates the ‘capacious and interconnected’ imagination of this complex, charismatic figure.’ — Charles Nicholl, author of 'The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street'

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Andrew Hadfield is Professor of English at the University of Sussex. He is the author of a number of works on early modern literature and culture, including Lying in Early Modern Culture (2017), Edmund Spenser: A Life (2012) and Shakespeare and Republicanism (2005).