The religious sonnet

R. V. Young

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 religious sonnet

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


Show Summary Details


The religious sonnets of John Donne is the focal point of this article. Like his secular verse, Donne's religious poems begin with the deployment of conventional genres, which the poet then develops in novel and often surprising ways in accord with his personal vision and the considerable resources of his wit. The same kinds of images and conceits that shape the imaginative world of the love poems form the fabric and texture of Donne's dramatization of religious experience. ValWeep, for example, broods upon erotic despair by invoking the image of a globe, while Sickness meditates on the mysteries of death by remarking the shortcomings of ‘all flatt Maps’. Donne the man may have made various critical changes in the mode of his life, but the terms in which Donne the poet saw and depicted the world and the texture of his poetry remain remarkably consistent from first to last.

Keywords: sonnet; religious sonnet; wit; conventional genres; John Donne

Article.  7085 words. 

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

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.