The paradox: <i>Biathanatos</i>

Ernest W. Sullivan

in The Oxford Handbook of John Donne

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199218608
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The paradox: Biathanatos

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
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This article starts by stating that the paradox had a reputation in the Renaissance as a witty but somewhat trivial genre. Donne, however, managed to employ the use of the concept of the paradox and turn it into a controversial, intellectually serious, and extended analysis of the ethical, legal, and theological implications of suicide in his Biathanatos which was published posthumously. The article goes on to analyse the reception of Biathanatos, Donne’s intention in writing it, and the subsequent critical analysis it received.

Keywords: Renaissance; paradox; suicide; genre; Biathanatos

Article.  2009 words. 

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

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