Article

The composition and dissemination of Donne's writings

Gary A. Stringer

in The Oxford Handbook of John Donne

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199218608
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199218608.013.0003

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The composition and dissemination of Donne's writings

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The composition and distribution of Donne's writings is the essence of this article. When John Donne died on 31 March 1631, at the age of fifty-nine, he left behind a body of written work remarkable for both its volume and its variety. These writings — or those that have survived and are itemized in Geoffrey Keynes's bibliography. An emphasis in recent years on Donne's involvement in the manuscript culture of his time has tended to make us forget just how much of his work he actually published. Dedicated to King James and prefaced with an introductory epistle signed ‘Iohn Donne’, Pseudo-Martyr was printed in 1610, and — though they remained technically anonymous until 1634 — the two versions of Ignatius both appeared in print the following year. Most of Donne's poetry also was unprinted during his lifetime, the principal exceptions being the individually published Anniversaries triptych — FirAn (1611), FunEl (1611), and SecAn (1612) — and Henry, which was included in the third edition of Josuah Sylvester's commemorative volume Lachrymae Lachrymarum (1613).

Keywords: John Donne; Donne's writings; manuscript culture; King James; Josuah Sylvester

Article.  6683 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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