[] John Donne Translating the Plague

Ernest B. Gilman

in Plague Writing in Early Modern England

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226294094
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226294117 | DOI:
[] John Donne Translating the Plague

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This chapter aims to set Donne as a plague writer into the context of the fatal and memorable year and, by doing so, correlate the epidemic crisis in London with a transformative personal crisis for Donne, occasioned by his own near-fatal illness two years before. The central texts include three works not usually taken together but all part of Donne's engagement with disease: his own, London's, and the world's. The Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, published the year before the plague as a meditation on his recent illness, would be in the bookstalls during the plague year, along with the 1625 edition of the “Anniversaries.” These earlier poems, with their prolonged lament for a “sicke World,” would now likely be reread in the light of the plague, and in the context of Donne's writing, as a prelude to the Devotions.

Keywords: John Donne; plague writing; Emergent Occasions; illness; personal crisis; translation

Chapter.  10180 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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