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Distributed for Reaktion Books

John Donne

In the Shadow of Religion

Distributed for Reaktion Books

John Donne

In the Shadow of Religion

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.

256 pages | 21 color plates, 12 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Renaissance Lives

Biography and Letters

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"Hadfield’s John Donne: In the Shadow of Religion is not a biography, but a portrait of Donne through his works and times. It is gorgeously produced, with glossy pages and ample color images of portraits, manuscripts, maps, monuments, and frescoes. . . . Its six themed chapters, elegantly and clearly written, will appeal to those immersed in Donne as well as those who know only a handful of lyrics."

Times Literary Supplement

"Hadfield evidently has wide knowledge of the period."

John Carey | Sunday Times

"The book is an effective . . . introduction to Donne for the general reader, and is praiseworthy for its focus on religion as a formative and crucial element in Donne’s life and the lives of the vast majority of his contemporaries."

Peter Davidson | Heythrop Journal

“The great achievement of Hadfield’s book, 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"

“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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