Religion Around John Donne

December 5, 2020
Religion Around John Donne

In this volume, Joshua Eckhardt examines the religious texts andbooks that surrounded the poems, sermons, and inscriptions of theearly modern poet and preacher John Donne. Focusing on the materialrealities legible in manuscripts and Sammelbände, bookshops andprivate libraries, Eckhardt uncovers the myriad ways in whichDonne’s writings were received and presented, first by hiscontemporaries, and later by subsequent readers of his work.Eckhardt sheds light on the religious writings with whichDonne’s work was linked during its circulation, using abibliographic approach that also informs our understanding of hiswork’s reception during the early modern period. He analyzes thereligious implications of the placement of Donne’s poem “A Litany”in a library full of Roman Catholic and English prayer books, therelationship and physical proximity of Donne’s writings to figuressuch as Sir Thomas Egerton and Izaak Walton, and the movements inlater centuries of Donne’s work from private owners to the majorlibraries that have made this study possible. Eckhardt’s detailedresearch reveals how Donne’s writings have circulated throughouthistory—and how religious readers, communities, and movementsaffected the distribution and reception of his body of work.Centered on a place in time when distinct methods ofreproduction, preservation, and circulation were used to negotiatea complex and sometimes dangerous world of confessional division,Religion Around John Donne makes an original contributionto Donne studies, religious history, book history, and receptionstudies.