John Donne's commemorations: authorship and afterlife in early modern England

Green, Charles Adam (2020). John Donne's commemorations: authorship and afterlife in early modern England. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines commemorative writing by and about John Donne. Taking a case study-based approach focused predominantly on a series of deaths from 1594/9 to 1631, it aims to resituate Donne’s literary responses to these events within their fullest possible literary, historical and bibliographical contexts, reading them alongside the commemorative works of his contemporaries and in the light of topical issues of the day. In doing so, it explores how, in hitherto little acknowledged ways, Donne and his contemporaries used such occasions to negotiate and fashion socially, professionally and politically useful identities, both for their subjects and for themselves.

I focus on previously neglected sources, including poems, sermons, wills, diaries, letters and monuments, in order to establish the key points of contention around which commemorative epideictic typically coalesced in these years, and to nuance received views about Donne’s attitudes towards commemorative genre and literary publication. Couching this analysis within a broader focus on literary reception, I demonstrate, moreover, how contemporaries read such works and conceptualised their authors in markedly different ways to modern critics, who have tended to dismiss much commemorative writing as unimportant and unedifying.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Lund, Mary
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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