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The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,140 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews

This Modern Library edition contains all of John Donne's great metaphysical love poetry. Here are such well-known songs and sonnets as "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning," "The Extasie," and "A Nocturnall Upon S. Lucies Day," along with the love elegies "Jealosie," "His Parting From Her," and "To His Mistris Going to Bed." Presented as well are Donne's satires, epigrams,
Paperback, 736 pages
Published August 14th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1929)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ken Moten
Ask not for whom this review tolls...

John Donne may be one of the best kept secrets of English literature. I never knew such a man could exist. A poet, writer, and theologian who does his own thing and has a hell of a vendetta against death.

This book gives us all of his poetry and a lengthy selection of his prose (which I think is better). I read this as a library book but now I know I will have to buy this book (hopefully the paperback will be an updated publication).

The book includes letter
Jan 07, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Megan by: Dad
Shelves: poetry, 17th-century
Um, it's Donne. There's not a lot to say without writing a thesis. I've read some of his meditations and sonnets and sermons but remember mostly just the famous stuff; Meditation XVII, "The Canonization" and "Hymn to God, My God, in my Sickness" to name a few. I particularly like the Holy Sonnets. I'm a big fan of 17th century poetry in general but of all poetry, ever, Donne has written some of the best. His poems are inventive with their imagery and intensely personal, though they remain true t ...more
Jul 12, 2007 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
John Donne's poetry is fantastcally beautiful. I could live for days in the worlds his words create in my mind. The depths of emotion Donne has made me feel, and the questions about myself, religion, love, and loss he has forced me to ask, are the most basic, yet also the most profound. Donne is much more than his quotable texts--look beyond the island and you will find the man.
Gilbert Wesley Purdy
Jul 15, 2016 Gilbert Wesley Purdy rated it it was amazing
Mine is the 1952 edition, therefore does not include the introduction by Denis Donoghue. The creator, for all intents and purposes, of Metaphysical Poetry. A lot of eccentric and strangely musical poetry. The "complete poetry" here is the complete English language poetry. None of the Latin poems are included.
Becca Charlton
Apr 04, 2008 Becca Charlton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-literature
My favorite poet. His words are a sweet breath released after a turbulent day. He's witty and wise and romantic and perfect.
Apr 19, 2008 Patrick\ rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A poet for all time in the English-Refined Celtic tradition. Never disappoints.
Mar 17, 2008 Bruce rated it it was amazing
I love to read "The Good-Morrow" to Anna:

I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I
Did, till we lov'd? were we not wean'd till then?
But suck'd on countrey pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the seaven sleepers den?
T'was so; But this, all pleasures fancies bee.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desir'd, and got, t'was but a dreame of thee.
May 16, 2007 Casey rated it really liked it
Shelves: adults
I got superduper into this poet when I was twenty. I love that some of his poems are so explicitly sexual, and others so religious. He also seems so sure about faith and redemption at one moment, and totally full of doubt the next. In this collection, you'll find a portrait of an incredibly thoughtful, passionate, and frequently conflicted man.
Kris MacNaughton
Jun 15, 2012 Kris MacNaughton rated it it was amazing
John Donne writes erotic poetry. I have an extreme love of old-timey sexual references so I love John Donne. His conceits are really well constructed, interesting and so fun. This is a great book for lovers to share, as long as both lovers are comfortable enough with themselves that getting turned on by a compass won't bother them.
Feb 14, 2014 Philip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am reading this book as an anthology, and pick it up when I feel like reading some of Donne's work. I've read a lot of his writing, but not nearly all of it. He's the only author I think who approaches Shakespeare & I find myself re-reading many of my favorite poems he's written.
Jul 21, 2009 Matthew rated it did not like it
Shelves: literary
This is my third attempt to plow through this book, and this time I'm throwing in the towel for good. I just don't get Donne. Maybe I need one of those critical editions where some smart person with an English degree explains everything as I go.
Feb 24, 2008 Colin rated it really liked it
I like Donne well enough. He's more in my style in his rakish youth, and his later conversion to a religious lifestyle and zealotry doesn't impress me as much as some, but his genius cannot be denied even in his later years.
Aug 17, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite poets..."death, thou shalt die!"
Jesse Broussard
Nov 01, 2008 Jesse Broussard rated it it was amazing
One of my top ten books of all time. Magnificent.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Mar 17, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Poetry Lovers
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Good Reading: 100 Signficant Books
I'd read some poems by Donne before, but it's amazing reading all his collected poems and being able to appreciate how consistently good they are--at least the sonnets and elegies which stand up being compared to those of Shakespeare. They're erudite, but accessible, although the edition I read didn't regularize the spelling--and frankly I think you only gain in readability if that's modernized and can't see what you'd lose unless you have a scholarly interest. Almost all the "Songs and Sonets" ...more
Dec 10, 2012 Alan rated it it was amazing
Here's where I started, as a Freshman at Amherst College, an enthusiasm for verse I did not entirely comprehend; a classmate of mine, Schuyler Pardee, and I went to our wonderful professor, G Armour Craig, with a proposal: Could we perhaps translate Donne for modern students? He was genial, did not laugh
at us, though our project never got off the drawing board. Perhaps he recommended further courses, I cannot recall. What I do recall is that my classmate was one of the dozen fellow "poets" in m
Aug 15, 2011 Michi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, brit-lit-1
A few of his poems were obligatory reading at the university - this is what I got out of it when I was done (with Donne):

A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning is a farewell poem. As a speech or a letter to say good bye it was possibly addressed to Donne’s wife. A Ptolemaic world-view is inscribed in the poem, as Donne writes about “trepidation of the spheres” and the “dull sublunary lovers’ love”, which is (unlike the love of God) unstable.

Love between man and God seems to be also a theme for sonne
Jul 15, 2008 Taka rated it it was ok
Batter my heart, religious Donne--

No, I didn't read ALL of it. I read his "Sonnets and Songs," "Elegies and Heroical Epistle," and "Holy Sonnets." I also took a look at his famous "No man is an island entirely of itself" meditation (Meditation XVII), and tried to tackle his "Death's Duel," but gave up due to a sheer lack of interest in the subject.

Reading poetry is difficult. I liked some of his sonnets, but I don't think I understood most of his poetry. I had to keep re-reading the lines and so
Jan 12, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
1. Loved the poetry. If poetry then was the pop music of today, no doubt Donne would be a celebrity truly worthy of decades of posthumous 'greatest hits' compilations. Moreso with the latter works.

2. The religious works... eh... he struck me as one of those fatalities of his era where Christianity, post-Renaissance ideas and an incorigsble love for archaic Roman Empire wordsmiths got caught in some real in flagrante delicto if you catch my drift. It's silly but if you want to know the mindset of
James Violand
Jun 29, 2014 James Violand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English poetry readers
Shelves: own
I confess: I read part of this book in 2008 and put it down because it seemed so difficult. The task of reading archaic English was daunting. Then, because I must finish what I began, I revisited it two years later and found it very good. What happened in the interim? I read a lot - A LOT - more and grew to appreciate Donne's obvious talent.
Feb 15, 2016 Bria marked it as partiallyread
This ended up on my to-read list one way or another, so I thought I'd give it a shot. But without a serious investment in learning the culture and literary background of the time, and teaching myself how to read the unfamiliar style, I felt that I wasn't doing myself much of a favor slogging through it, and at my age I recognize that I would rather invest in other pursuits. But it wasn't a total loss, as at the very least I got to discover such gems as:
"Already this hot cocke, in bush and tree,
Oct 23, 2015 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read the entire book; I was mostly just interested in the poetry.
There's no denying that this man knew how to construct a poem, but I got a little tired of the subject matter after a bit. It seems like half of them are about "the inconstancy of woman" or how he believes that monogamy is immoral, and the other half are about religion. Not much my cup of tea.
John Gutierrez
Jul 31, 2014 John Gutierrez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is as good as poetry gets. Donne's themes are universal, his mastery of form and language is unsurpassed, the depth of emotion is astonishing and the amount of great work is enough to keep anyone occupied for years. I cannot recommend John Donne highly enough.
Sabrina Davis
Jun 21, 2016 Sabrina Davis added it
Shelves: own-it
I was introduced to John Donne during my History of English Lit class, and I found this volume at my local used bookstore. My copy was published in 1952 and has annotations by the previous owner, but what I'm most struck with is Donne's poetry and prose.
Gabriel Oak
May 28, 2014 Gabriel Oak rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry-and-drama
Donne better than any other religious poet I can think of captures the competing enticements of the carnal and the spiritual. Although I've never loved the satires, the Holy Sonnets are worth rereading often and carefully. Beautiful.
Andrew Stout
Dec 01, 2015 Andrew Stout rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read the selections from "Pseudo-Martyr" and "Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions."
Sep 06, 2015 rosalind marked it as abandoned
Shelves: poetry
i can't finish a library version of this in 2 weeks, and i also don't want to read his prose at all. will find a book of just donne's poetry.
Stephen Hull
I'm marking this as read, but it's actually an ongoing project. Some utterly wonderful (and wonderfully rude) stuff in here and other bits that are rather monotonous and samey. I think that variation in quality is quite reasonable for a compilation of many things written over many years, however. Definitely worth having on your shelf.
Feb 26, 2013 Shanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: class-work
A hard but rewarding slog, I focused mostly songs and sonnets for my creative writing class. It's interesting the disparate interpretations we came out with, The Flea seemed blatantly obvious to me but others interpreted in a different way. Go and catch a falling star was my hands down favourite, and Holy sonnet 14 was an eye opener...
Mar 19, 2013 Tracy added it
Okay, look, they don't have my copy of Donne's poetry, The Essential Donne selected by Amy Clampitt, so I chose this one --

I hope this is a good copy of his poetry. It's not immediately accessible, but it's a way to understanding how rich poetry can be, how entrancing.
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  • The Complete Poems
  • The Metaphysical Poets
  • The Complete Poems and Major Prose
  • The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Complete Poems and Selected Letters
  • The Major Works
  • The Complete English Poems
  • The Complete Sonnets and Poems
  • Selected Poems and Fragments
  • The Major Works
  • The Complete Poems
  • Selected Poetry and Prose
  • Complete Poems
  • Poetry, Drama and Prose
  • Poetry and Prose of Alexander Pope (Riverside Editions)
  • The Poems Of Wilfred Owen
  • The Complete Poems
  • Selected Poems
John Donne was an English poet, preacher and a major representative of the metaphysical poets of the period. His works are notable for their realistic and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially as compared to that of ...more
More about John Donne...

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“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."

[The Autumnal]”
Death Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke ; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And Death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”
More quotes…