Donne's military career

Albert C. Labriola

in The Oxford Handbook of John Donne

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Donne's military career

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
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Donne's military career is the essence of this article. Donne's military career spans 1596–7, including two expeditions against Spain: the former a maritime assault and landing at Cadiz; the latter an ill-fated venture in the Azores, often called the Islands voyage. For both expeditions Donne was a voluntary or gentleman volunteer who served with the Earl of Essex, a sometime favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and a courtier whose vibrant personality, impulsive behaviour, and headstrong manner elicited a following of young men. Though a soldier, Donne spent most of his time on board a vessel. But Donne's references to these expeditions emphasize life at sea and maritime warfare, not assaults overland. If, therefore, Donne saw action on the ground at Cadiz, he did not write graphically about his experiences. Though Donne's military experiences were limited, his accounts of such service, whether in prose or poetry, are graphically descriptive, rich with near-journalistic detail.

Keywords: career; military career; Azores; Donne's military career; Cadiz

Article.  4524 words. 

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

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