Holy Sonnets

Ramie Targoff

in John Donne, Body and Soul

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780226789637
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226789781 | DOI:
Holy Sonnets

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This chapter analyzes the Holy Sonnets, which represent Donne's earliest imaginings of the consequences of divine judgment. Because Donne's primary concern in the Holy Sonnets lies in gauging his chances for salvation, he attends more to the state of the soul than to the state of the body. In this respect, these poems are less immediately interested in the relationship between the two parts of the self than many of Donne's other works. Yet, Donne's concerns about his spiritual condition are always entangled with his concerns about his physical condition. The Holy Sonnets are suffused with the language of bodily decay, and their urgent pleas for repair are with equal frequency directed at the mortal flesh as at the immortal soul.

Keywords: John Donne; divine judgment; body; soul; poems

Chapter.  10841 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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