Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

Spring 4-18-2012

School

College of Arts and Sciences

Major

English

Keywords

John Donne, Holy Sonnets, religion, spiritual tension

Abstract

During the Elizabethan era, England experienced religious turmoil that ripped apart its people and saw repercussions in every area of its society. John Donne lived, wrote, and preached during this tumultuous period, and his writing directly reflects the tension of the times. More so than historical commentary however, his poetry, and his Holy Sonnets in particular, bears witness to the far greater battle waging itself within Donne. Within a study of Donne’s life, both professional and personal, and a parallel study of his works in light of the context of his life, a sense of overwhelming tension becomes apparent. The Holy Sonnets contain the clearest and most precise images of this tension between Donne’s flesh and spirit.

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