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The Major Works: Including Songs and Sonnets and Sermons

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  339 ratings  ·  12 reviews
John Donne (1572-1631) is perhaps the most important poet of the seventeenth century, and has often been referred to as the founder of the metaphysical genre. His poetry is highly distinctive and individual, adopting a multitude of tones, images, forms, and personae. This collection of Donne's verse includes a wide selection from both his secular and divine poems, ...more
Paperback, Oxford World’s Classics, 528 pages
Published September 28th 2000 by Oxford University Press (first published 1988)
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Jan 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Donne would probably be the poet I would most like to encounter at a party. I dislike the moniker "metaphysical" for him; true it may be--he is not as difficult as that word makes him seem to be. He is a poet of the earth--his love of Eros is unparalleled in his age, and thanks to the age of reason (which didn't believe in sex), and the romantic Era (which believed in sex, sure enough, but always seemed to feel bad about it--but then again they felt bad about everything--wonderful poets mind ...more
Nov 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
As expected, despite his challenging style and diction, Donne's poems are tremendously enjoyable. The elegies are particularly witty, with lots of wordplay and suggestive remarks. The excerpts from letters and sermons are interesting, although the publisher really ought to have included more background. The satires can be difficult to follow, but do offer some interesting social and personal commentary on Donne's life. The main issue, however, comes from the poor notes provided by the editor. ...more
Nov 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
John Donne is my idea of a perfect poet. The man may very well have been a conduit for the divine in all forms. From his love poems, to his religious poems to his sermons, he speaks with an intimate knowledge of what it is to be human, yearning for grace.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Elizabethan poetry
Recommended to Joanna by: Princeton Review
I prefer the bawdy, youthful courtier of Donne's early days to the solemn, searching dean of St. Paul's of his later years - but I found all the poems I read to be vivid and stirring.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literature
After having a copy of this book in my possession for a good many years, I have read enough of it to say that I have a firm grasp of Donne's poetry. If you like passionate love sonnets, a la Shakespeare, then this is for you. Donne should appeal to fans of sonnets in general. I have a few of these large collections of poems by several famous poets (Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Allan Ginsberg, Emily Dickinson, and Edgar Allan Poe), and so I feel that I can confidently state at this point that ...more
Apr 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christians and playboys- Donne's got something for everyone
Shelves: college
I find John Donne to be a really remarkable poet; I first really read him in Sunday school in high school but later learned more about his life and perhaps how that influenced the wide range of poetry he wrote and then later his sermons. His holy sonnets are stirring and his seemingly more secular sonnets wonderuflly layered and delightfully complex, ripe for dissection. I find his sermons a little long-winded, but still with some wonderful imagery and figurative language.
Apr 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Had to read this for my English Lit class. I really enjoy the metaphysical poets, and I have a soft spot for Donne. The only issue was having an existential crisis while reading the "Death's Duel" sermon.
Other than that I consider myself to be better educated.
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was ok
Although I appreciate the talent behind his works, it's just not for me- and worse- the overly enthusiastic professor who simply could not understand how the material was not entirely engaging, especially when it's your last class of the day. Thank goodness for open-note, open book midterms. <3
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful for thou are not so.

John Donne is confusing and wonderful
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Not sure this is the edition I actually read, and I haven't read it all, either.
Aug 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
My favorite. I am ever faithful to the one I love.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of the metaphysical poets (metaphysicians[?]) for a long time. Donne is my hands down favorite. Not only is he probably the best known metaphysical poet, but he seemed to be the one, of this small cadre, to go at it with the most alacrity. I thought the approach to be so wonderful, that I took the time to teach Valediction Forbidding Mourning in my chemistry classes ... (when dealing with malleability of metals .... "like gold to airy thinness beat" .... but contined right on ...more
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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
“I am the dust and the ashes of the temple of the Holy Ghost, and what marble is so precious? But I am more than dust and ashes: I am my best part, I am my soul.” 2 likes
“O miserable condition of man, which is not imprinted by God, who, as he is immortal himself, had put a coal, a beam of immortality into us, which we might have blown into a flame, but blew it by our first sin; we beggared ourselves by hearkening after falses riches, and infatuated ourselves by hearkening after false knowledge.” 1 likes
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