Article

Donne and Court Chaplaincy

Peter McCullough

in The Oxford Handbook of John Donne

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199218608
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199218608.013.0046

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Donne and Court Chaplaincy

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Next to ordination itself, nothing shaped Donne's clerical career more than his status as chaplain-in-ordinary to Kings James I and Charles I. This article focusses on John Donne and court chaplaincy. Next to ordination itself, nothing shaped Donne's clerical career more than his status as chaplain-in-ordinary to Kings James I and Charles I. Ordination and royal chaplaincy were, uniquely in the period, coeval for Donne, and the latter was the platform from which he emerged as a preacher of national status and fame. Donne's experience of royal chaplaincy, however, did not wait for ordination and appointment as chaplain to James I in 1615. Donne's intellectual and cultural nursery c.1592–4, the Inns of Court, was tied inextricably to the royal court at Whitehall, not least by well-worn paths of patronage and preferment. This article has focused primarily on the institutional structures of royal chaplaincy that not only defined Donne's service at court, but also shaped his very path to priesthood and early preferment.

Keywords: King James I; King Charles I; ordination; intellectual; cultural nursery; royal chaplaincy

Article.  6399 words. 

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

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