John Donne: The Reformed Soul: A Biography



From Scholar To Buccaneer, From Outcast To Establishment Figure, John Donne Emerged As One Of The Greatest English Poets Following Donne From Plague Ridden Streets To Palaces, From Taverns To The Pulpit Of St Paul S, John Stubbs S Exemplary Literary Biography Harold Bloom Is A Vivid Portrait Of An Extraordinary Writer And His Country At A Time Of Bewildering And Cruel TransformationJohn Donne: The Reformed Soul: A Biography

John Stubbs received his PhD in Renaissance literature from Cambridge University His biography John Donne The Reformed Soul was shortlisted for the Costa Award and won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award He lives in Slovenia.

[Reading] ➯ John Donne: The Reformed Soul: A Biography ➷ John Stubbs – E17streets4all.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 592 pages
  • John Donne: The Reformed Soul: A Biography
  • John Stubbs
  • English
  • 16 March 2017
  • 0393333663

10 thoughts on “John Donne: The Reformed Soul: A Biography

  1. says:

    This book probably deserves four stars Stubbs writing is learned, balanced, and clean He knows a lot and he says a lot and he writes well I recommend this to anyone who wants to knowabout John Donne So why three stars I usually try to respect an author s own terms and intentions and not play the This book isn t good because I wish it were something else game BUT I kinda sorta wantedabout the poetry Stubbs has English lit degrees from Oxford and Cambridge but he doesn t s This book probably deserves four stars Stubbs writing is learned, balanced, and clean He knows a lot and he says a lot and he writes well I recommend this to anyone who wants to knowabout John Donne So why three stars I usually try to respect an author s own terms and intentions and not play the This book isn t good because I wish it were something else game BUT I kinda sorta wantedabout the poetry Stubbs has English lit degrees from Oxford and Cambridge but he doesn t seem to think that poetry requires interpretation or that it matters at all He has a rather naive assumption about poems just being about an author s feelings, and those feelings are usually I like this girl or I wish I had a better job or The people around me are ridiculous Granted, there are a lot of poems, including poems by John Donne, that carry one or both of those messages But they re also, y know, POEMS They have lots of meanings and patterns and require interpretive work Stubbs doesn t do that He has precious little to say about Donne s poetry and instead takes his religious pamphleteeringseriously And by seriously I don t mean that Stubbs cares too much about the ideas in Donne s pamphlets he cares about how Donne is trying to advance his career by pleasing various political factions while not offending othersthan he has to Because that s why anybody writes anything What I guess I m saying is that this biography is, like the biographies of Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt and James Shapiro, operating on the assumption that the men of early modern England were motivated almost entirely by careerism, the purpose of which is for a man of intelligence but middling status to rise in society, own nice things, and associate with powerful people That is to say, early modern poets are exactly like contemporary elite university professors They work hard to please the right people and their overriding anxiety is that they never get promoted or makemoney They actually like their patrons and earnestly seekfavor from them As for their beliefs, they re totally middle of the roaders who think everyone should let everyone else do and believe whatever they like but they re perfectly willing to take on extremists in order to please their benevolent masters The upside of this approach is one learns a lot about the political and religious controversies of the time, so long as one takes for granted that all religious controversies are really political controversies, and political in these cases always means the competing concerns of nations and interests groups and not people who have stuff protecting it from people who don t have stuff All that matters is how a member of the cognitive elite was able to work the system of economic and administrative elites The best parts of the book come towards the end Stubbs is very good on King James and Edward Alleyn, both of whom have personalities that come off as wayinteresting than Donne s Stubbs doesn t end up say too much about Donne s own personality because he s trying to avoid the randy Jack Donne grew up to be serious Dr Donne story that Donne himself promoted, Isaak Walton popularized, and continues through the biographical tradition Stubbs doesn t want to tell that story even though it seems like the best way of understanding the man

  2. says:

    I marvel at the unstinting flow of writing of the highest order from the pens of gifted biographers working today Mr Stubbs numbers among these persons, and in this life of John Donne he has given us a clear eyed and incisive examination of the life of an extraordinarily intelligent man, whose political skill, ingenuity and agility as well as his extraordinary capacity to please, mollify and placate just the right people allowed him to survive and prosper in Stuart England, potentially a highl I marvel at the unstinting flow of writing of the highest order from the pens of gifted biographers working today Mr Stubbs numbers among these persons, and in this life of John Donne he has given us a clear eyed and incisive examination of the life of an extraordinarily intelligent man, whose political skill, ingenuity and agility as well as his extraordinary capacity to please, mollify and placate just the right people allowed him to survive and prosper in Stuart England, potentially a highly dangerous place for anyone afflicted with talent and ambition Highly recommended

  3. says:

    John Donne was a modern man He is full of contradictions, faults, neurotic if not psychotic guilt, confusion, love, hope, and faith To me, he embodies the Anglican Christian, a role model Absolutely every aspect of his life resonates with me It is sad that there are only echoes of his wife, Ann More There were so many reasons that this marriage was wrong, marginally legal, scandalous, and a professional drag, yet it remained passionate and sensual His poetry to his wife indicates a unity o John Donne was a modern man He is full of contradictions, faults, neurotic if not psychotic guilt, confusion, love, hope, and faith To me, he embodies the Anglican Christian, a role model Absolutely every aspect of his life resonates with me It is sad that there are only echoes of his wife, Ann More There were so many reasons that this marriage was wrong, marginally legal, scandalous, and a professional drag, yet it remained passionate and sensual His poetry to his wife indicates a unity of selves in an almost cosmic sense.I must say on a completely personal note, that even though Thomas Merton brought me to Christ, it has been John Donne who has kept me a Christian Donne s humanity inspires me to hope forOur confused and sometimes pitiful lives can embrace great deeds and good deeds too And along the way there is a God who won t let go

  4. says:

    John Stubbs is an excellent biographer His work is well researched, reasoned and is articulated shared I found it a fascinating account of the English middle to upper classes in the late 1500s and early 1600s He brings London, its politics and its pestilence to vivid life He helps explain the birth and development of English Protestantism Stubbs, however, failed to convert me into a fan of the books subject John Dunne Besides a page worth of memorable writing, I found Donne to be a selfi John Stubbs is an excellent biographer His work is well researched, reasoned and is articulated shared I found it a fascinating account of the English middle to upper classes in the late 1500s and early 1600s He brings London, its politics and its pestilence to vivid life He helps explain the birth and development of English Protestantism Stubbs, however, failed to convert me into a fan of the books subject John Dunne Besides a page worth of memorable writing, I found Donne to be a selfish, self satisfying bore As far as I can gather he did one extremely risky and noble thing in his life he married for love He spent the next twenty years trying to excuse it and dodge the consequences The bulk of his days were spent making sure those farther up the food chain were satisfied with whatever he dished out I was reminded of Castiglione s, The Book of the Courtier look conventionally sharp, speak well and carefully, toady up to and with praise those in power Above all else, conform to the positions of royalty Very possibly I m a poor reader and someday, someone will set me straight by explaining why Donne should be admired Until then the bell fails to toll for he

  5. says:

    This was a fascinating read, as much for the sense you get of what Jacobean London was like as for the story of the man himself The pre fire St Paul s, crossed by a public boulevard where the great and not so good gathered to gossip and hear the news sounds such that I wonder if anyone has focused on it in historical fiction The religious tensions of the time, and their impact on the subject, are explained in cogent and telling detail, without unnecessary depth, without any attempt to fit the This was a fascinating read, as much for the sense you get of what Jacobean London was like as for the story of the man himself The pre fire St Paul s, crossed by a public boulevard where the great and not so good gathered to gossip and hear the news sounds such that I wonder if anyone has focused on it in historical fiction The religious tensions of the time, and their impact on the subject, are explained in cogent and telling detail, without unnecessary depth, without any attempt to fit the man or his times to a particular thesis, forming a genuinely catholic small c appraisal of Donne s life and works Stubbs doesn t speculate away the gaps, or implicitly fabricate the missing testimonies, but lets the spaces resonate The pen portraits of Donne s contemporaries, especially James I, Buckingham and Laud, and the old player Alleyn are very good indeed

  6. says:

    THE modern biography of John Donne Stubbs does an excellent job describing Donne s time and place and the seething mass of contradictions that made up the man who is still quoted, read, and talked about today.

  7. says:

    Engrossing biography of a seminal seventeenth Century poet who straddled the religious divisions between the reformation and the civil war Born a Catholic , he had a very personal Protestant journey Catholicism became illegal that sifted the best and worst of both His poetry calls for scripture not politics to be each mans arbiter and makes some radical pleas to God to overcome his sin that uses language of violence seduction and rape A fascinating if tortured pilgrimage through a time o Engrossing biography of a seminal seventeenth Century poet who straddled the religious divisions between the reformation and the civil war Born a Catholic , he had a very personal Protestant journey Catholicism became illegal that sifted the best and worst of both His poetry calls for scripture not politics to be each mans arbiter and makes some radical pleas to God to overcome his sin that uses language of violence seduction and rape A fascinating if tortured pilgrimage through a time of turmoil for truth

  8. says:

    I chose to read this book because the title intrigued me I had a feint knowledge of John Donne I was not aware that Donne was the author of no man is an island , both a concept and a phrase I have been familiar with since high school I knew enough about him through reading a synopsis of the book to know that this book would contribute to my continued quest for non fiction that will bring knowledge, insight, and just maybe inspiration to my life Good choice on my part I positively enjoyed r I chose to read this book because the title intrigued me I had a feint knowledge of John Donne I was not aware that Donne was the author of no man is an island , both a concept and a phrase I have been familiar with since high school I knew enough about him through reading a synopsis of the book to know that this book would contribute to my continued quest for non fiction that will bring knowledge, insight, and just maybe inspiration to my life Good choice on my part I positively enjoyed reading this It reads like a novel Stubbs has a writing style that makes, what could have been a very scholarly and dull read, anything but The book appeals to me in part because John Donne lived during the time of the English Reformation in the 1600 s and he was a contemporary of luminaries such as Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth the First I majored in history in college, so I have a natural affinity for all the history outlined in the story of John Donne Thanks to TCM and Erroll Flynn films, I had no problem visualizing in my mind many of the events referred to in this book Stubbs chose to use the old English spelling that Donne and his peers used in their written discourse and correspondence Sometimes it was a challenge understanding what Donne and his friends were saying, As an example yf is if and yt is , you guessed it, it You have to read an entire verse sometimes to figure out what a word is and it is English I enjoyed reading about this man and to see how he became the reformed soul referred to in the title I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book We have within us a torch, a soul, lighter and warmer then any without John Donne

  9. says:

    Like other reviewers, I was surprised and disappointed at the relative lack of discussion of Donne s poetry On one hand, Stubbs point I think was that the poetry was not as central to his life as we might imagine Whether this is true or not, it is why most of us are even reading a biography of Donne Most people do not know about his sermons and some, I think, probably assume some of hisfamous phrases from his sermons are from his poetry His turn to religion as vocation is important Like other reviewers, I was surprised and disappointed at the relative lack of discussion of Donne s poetry On one hand, Stubbs point I think was that the poetry was not as central to his life as we might imagine Whether this is true or not, it is why most of us are even reading a biography of Donne Most people do not know about his sermons and some, I think, probably assume some of hisfamous phrases from his sermons are from his poetry His turn to religion as vocation is important and central to understanding him, especially in contrast to his earlier self But the poetry is central to us, most readers, and therefore I think should have been better represented Perhaps others disagree

  10. says:

    Fantastic biography of a man who changed so much over the course of his life No thesis statement of a life is ever accurate, but if a post hoc unifying myth can be created it surely makes biography easier Nothing like that is available in this case.Born a Catholic, pragmatically transitioning to the Anglican church, Donne found the extremists on all sides foolish and exemplified in all the contradictions of his life the middle way the Anglican church has sought.I came to this book only knowi Fantastic biography of a man who changed so much over the course of his life No thesis statement of a life is ever accurate, but if a post hoc unifying myth can be created it surely makes biography easier Nothing like that is available in this case.Born a Catholic, pragmatically transitioning to the Anglican church, Donne found the extremists on all sides foolish and exemplified in all the contradictions of his life the middle way the Anglican church has sought.I came to this book only knowing of Donne s poetry, not knowing there was so muchto the story of how he could be so clear about what people are So glad to have learned the rest of the story

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