Donne and Egerton: the court and courtship

Steven W. May

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 and Egerton: the court and courtship

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
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The court and the idea of courtship and the place of John Donne's is the essence of this article. The autumn of 1597 marked a turning-point in John Donne's career. By then he had spent more than five years as an Inns of Court gentleman in London, participating in the social life and entertainments of the metropolis, all of which he is reputed to have enjoyed. Neither frivolity nor legal training occupied all his time, however. As he recalled in a Letter to his friend Sir Henry Goodere late in 1608, his study of law ‘was diverted by...immoderate desire of humane learning and languages’. Donne was appointed secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Master of the Rolls and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. Egerton's duties by the mid-1590s were critical to the operation of the central government. Donne's independence was an indulgence when seen against the backdrop of court and courtship.

Keywords: John Donne; Egerton; Inns of Court; metropolis; Sir Henry Goodere; Lord Keeper

Article.  5591 words. 

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

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