Donne and Late Elizabethan Court Politics

Andrew Gordon

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 Late Elizabethan Court Politics

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Late Elizabethan court politics during Donne's times is the main component of this article. In his examination of constancy under pressure in ElPart, Donne reaches for the imagery of courtly intrigue to dramatize both the excitements and the dangers of a secret affair. Anti-court complaint had long been a poetic commonplace, but the heady mix of apprehension and opportunity, of mingled fear and desire, that Donne conjures in this Elegy and in others such as ElJeal and ElPerf, is particularly evocative of the later 1590s when an atmosphere of suspicion and intrigue characterized perceptions of the court. This article further exploits the role of Egerton along with John Donne against the backdrop of late Elizabethan court politics. The nature of Donne's employment for Egerton has been the subject of much speculation. Letter writing was a vital aspect of the business of court life, and Donne played a vital role in the late Elizabethan court politics.

Keywords: John Donne; late Elizabethan age; court politics; poetic commonplace; courtly intrigue

Article.  5199 words. 

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

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