In this volume, Joshua Eckhardt examines the religious texts and books that surrounded the poems, sermons, and inscriptions of the early modern poet and preacher John Donne. Focusing on the material realities legible in manuscripts and Sammelbände, bookshops and private libraries, Eckhardt uncovers the myriad ways in which Donne’s writings were received and presented, first by his contemporaries, and later by subsequent readers of his work.
Eckhardt sheds light on the religious writings with which Donne’s work was linked during its circulation, using a bibliographic approach that also informs our understanding of his work’s reception during the early modern period. He analyzes the religious implications of the placement of Donne’s poem “A Litany” in a library full of Roman Catholic and English prayer books, the relationship and physical proximity of Donne’s writings to figures such as Sir Thomas Egerton and Izaak Walton, and the movements in later centuries of Donne’s work from private owners to the major libraries that have made this study possible. Eckhardt’s detailed research reveals how Donne’s writings have circulated throughout history—and how religious readers, communities, and movements affected the distribution and reception of his body of work.
Centered on a place in time when distinct methods of reproduction, preservation, and circulation were used to negotiate a complex and sometimes dangerous world of confessional division, Religion Around John Donne makes an original contribution to Donne studies, religious history, book history, and reception studies.
About the Author
Joshua Eckhardt is Associate Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Table of Contents
Note on Texts and Conventions xi
1 Religion Around Donne's Poems in a Family Library 11
Interlude: Mirreus, Grants, and Graius Go to the Library 49
2 Religious Works Around Donne's Inscriptions 57
3 Religious Verse Around Donne's Verse 91
4 Religious Prose Around Donne's Prose 105
5 Religious Books Around Donne's Works 129