Talk:John Donne

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Revisiting Death Dates[edit]

The article introduction and the infobox contradict each other by nearly three weeks. Anybody know which is the real death date? -- (talk) 05:07, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Check Bald. I'd bet that the problem is difference between the Gregorian Calendar (newly in use on the continent) and the Julian calendar (still in use in England). Scholarly sources usually cite by the calendar of the country in question, but sometimes authors translate from one to another or list both, so there can be some confusion.

It seems unlikely that the Robert Drury linked to by this article (section on Donne's later career) is the correct R.D., since his death predates Donne's patron. --Lil Miss Picky (talk) 19:18, 24 May 2010 (UTC)


Should "Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions" be written "Devotions upon Emergent Occasions"? As a preposition, one would think the "U" ought to be lower case, but in most places I see it capitalized.

No man is an Island[edit]

shouldnt the quote be "no man is an island"?

I assume the quote as displayed in the article uses the original spelling. I haven't checked this. It is a little confusing, and previous edits have 'corrected' the spelling; perhaps we should at least have a note about the archaic spelling. Or perhaps modernize it?? — Stumps 15:06, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

The No Man is an Island passage from meditations xvii is very hard to read simply lumped together in a large box.... perhaps someone more linguisticly gifted could sort it out? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:35, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

To His Mistress Going TO Bed[edit]

Some sources call this elegy 20 and others elegy 19. Which is definitive? Should this be addressed within the article

?Jayunderscorezero 11:09, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

From memory, I don't think there is a definitive number. The numbers are based on convention. Rintrah 13:00, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

True, most of the literature of this time does not exist in "definitive" editions, but in multiple ones that vary from printing to printing. The idea that there is a definitive and inviolable version of a text was still being hashed out during Donne's time. Themill 09:17, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

From what I remember, which comes from Helen Gardner's edition (I think), different versions are considered authoritative by different groups of scholars. Anthologists usually follow the received sequence, but some daring ones reorder the poems if they think there is a better scheme. The discovery of a new manuscript usually presents the problem of how it fits into the sequence. I recall many of his poems were not published in his lifetime, and so difficult to date and order for later anthologists. It is easier to identify his poems by their official title or their first line. Similarly, the works of Shakespeare, a contemporary of Donne, do not exist in single definitve versions because of the unreliable system of publication existing in his time. Rintrah 11:28, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Essex's Military expeditions?[edit]

I see that the first clause in following was deleted a while back ... "After taking part in Essex's military expeditions in 1596-97, he became secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton" What was the reason? — Stumps 17:39, 6 May 2006 (UTC)


This page needs a lot of help. Facts are super-sketchy.

needs to mention his fusion of sex and religion (batter my heart, etc) ought to reference "the bell tolls for thee"

but those would just be bandaids on the gaping wound that is this page.

Okay, well, if you think the page needs improving, then improve it. That's what Wikipedia is. But there is no work by Donne entitled "the bell tolls for thee" - I think what you are referring to is one line in Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, "...and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." This is just one part of a much larger piece. Eriathwen 18:38, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Career in English[edit]

What does "The account of Donne's life in the 1590s from an early biographer, Izaak Walton, reminds him as a young rake. Scholars theorise this to be declining, since the account was given by the older Donne, after being obtained; he may have wanted to separate, more cleanly than was possible, the younger man-about-town from the older clergyman." mean - can someone translate this into English please -- SGBailey 21:06, 23 September 2006 (UTC)


Very little is said of his poetry, other than a list of poems after the introduction. If it is mentioned in the introduction, it should be expatiated somewhere else in the article. Rintrah 13:03, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Travel to France[edit]

I have heard that Dunne's valeditions, especially the Valediction Forbidding Morning, are written not about death (as my english teacher so implied) but about literally leaving on work trips. Dunne apparently had a job as an estate executor in France, and had to go on many dangerous trips across the sea. This, or so I have heard, is why there are so many nautical references in these poems. Can anyone verify this? --Iriseyes 19:17, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Date of Death's Duel[edit]

Although the printed version of Death's Duel gives it's date as "Lent 1630", the date was really February 1631. This is because, at the time, the New Year was not celebrated until March 25. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:23, 6 December 2006 (UTC).

Donne's uncle[edit]

I added some information to the article about Donne's uncle and his brother, both of whom were legally penalized for their Catholicism. The information about his brother was left alone, but the sentence about his uncle was deleted shortly afterward.

One of Donne's uncles, who was a Jesuit, was also executed for his Catholicism (the precise method of execution used was hanging, castration, disembowelment, and quartering).

So what exactly is the problem? Is the description of the execution method a little too detailed? Galanskov 04:46, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't know. You could reinsert it with a reference. Then any deletion would be clearly illogical. Rintrah 07:29, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I think I'll do that. Thank you for the advice. Galanskov 15:57, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

There's a technical name (and a page) for that punishment, it's called hanging, drawing and quartering so I changed that. It's less explicitly gory now, too. Eriathwen 09:48, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Thank you. Galanskov 04:43, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Reorganization of sections[edit]

I plan to reorganize the bibliography and critical works sections into one references section. That way it will be easier to add in a footnotes section. Any complaints? Galanskov 16:02, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Scratch that idea. I've just put my footnotes section and the critical works section into one references section. I'll leave the bibliography alone. Galanskov 16:10, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

The material about Donne's uncle was just not really relevant at all. It doesn't relate in any insightful way to his life or work, or even the world of Catholic/Protestant conflict to which he belonged. The section on style is also repetitive, and a very simplistic explication of what are extremely complex, difficult concepts. Donne is renowned as one of the most "difficult" of all English poets and deserves a lucid, accurate and informative entry. I don't think a section on "style" is even appropriate in his case. By the way, does anyone know what happened to the perfectly acceptable image of Donne this entry used to have? User: Joe Nutt

The material is entirely relevant. It highlights the dangers of being a Catholic in Protestant England. These dangers would play a significant role in Donne's life, up until his conversion to the Anglican Church. The bad ends his relatives came to were probably constantly at the back of his mind. (I decline to comment on the style section, since I had no hand in that. I'll check up on that image for you.) Galanskov 00:31, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
I disagree about its relevance, but agree with your criticisms. I think the style section needs a succinct description of his style, but not with the pretence of definitive explication. He is more difficult to read than his peers, yes, but clearly not impossible. The section should only be short to avoid vagueness, simplicity, and repetiveness. Rintrah 08:11, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Is this the image you're refering to?

John Donne

I don't see anything wrong with it either. I'll do some more ferreting on the history page and see if I can find out why it was removed. Galanskov 00:47, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

I found out some more. The image was removed at 19:30, 17 November, 2006, by User:Joe67Saint. Joe67Saint left no edit summary explaining his decision. I'll look through the talk page's history to see if he left any explanation there. Galanskov 01:13, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Joe67Saint never touched the talk page. I can see no cause for removing the image, so I'll put it back in. I'll also leave a message at Joe's talk page. Galanskov 01:17, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

My apologies. I removed the image because it was showing up blank when I viewed the page. It looks fine now. Perhaps it was entirely a mistake on my end. - Joe67Saint

That's okay, no harm done. Thank you for replying. Galanskov 02:00, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

What about the picture of him wearing the broad-brimmed hat, looking mysterious? That's the one most biogs use.--Shtove 21:54, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Found and added. Thanks for bringing in up. Galanskov 03:20, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Earl of Doncaster[edit]

The article describes Donne as going to Germany with the Earl of Doncaster in 1618. I was trying to figure out which 'prince of Germany' it was, so I could fix that red link. Germany itself never had a prince, there were lots of princes in different areas /regions, so I'll never figure out what prince, probably. But the title of Earl of Doncaster wasn't created until 1663 - see Duke of Buccleuch (which incorporated the title Earl of Doncaster) or Peerage of England ... either that's wrong, or this article is wrong. Proto:: 14:00, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

I checked one the best web biographies, and it turns out that he was actually in the service of the Viscount Doncaster. If I recall correctly, I found the statement about the Earl of Doncaster in [smug grin] Encyclopedia Brittanica, or possibly Collier's Encyclopedia. Either way, it provides a rather cool example of one of the big traditional encyclopedias screwing up. Thanks for pointing that out, Proto. As for the matter of the princes of Germany, I'm pretty sure it was the regional princes that the Viscount was visiting. Galanskov 22:04, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Death date[edit]

The text lists his death date as March 31,35, while the infobox says it's March 12, 1631. Anybody know which is right? JordeeBec 16:48, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Dates of Poetry[edit]

I changed the poetry remark at the beginning of this article because his poems are hardly easy to date and remarking that they reflect his life stages is reductive. Perhaps they do, but many respected scholars do not believe this is the case as I have pointed out. Why keep changing it back to an assertion that leaves out the debate? I think highlighting the question makes it a more reliable article. comment was added by Kkateq (talkcontribs) 14:31, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Holy Sonnet or Divine Meditation[edit]

Two of Donne's most famous works are "Holy Sonnet 10" and "Holy Sonnet 14". I have also heard from Sparknotes that it is also called "Divine Mediation." Are these two names the same poems? Bdodo1992 (talk) 01:39, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Donne as Christian Kabbalist[edit]

The reference for this is:

  • Albrecht, Roberta. The Virgin Mary as Alchemical and Lullian Reference in Donne, p. 30. Susquehanna University Press, 2005. ISBN 1575910942

Could one of the regular editors of this article please determine the best place to integrate this bit?

Bob (QaBob) 03:24, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Please add Albrecht's more recent work: "Using Alchemical Memory Techniques for the Interpretation of Literature: John Donne, George Herbert, and Richard Crashaw," The Edwin Mellen Press, 2008. According to one reviewer, the value of this work is that it "stresses the continuity in religious, meditative, and theological practice as expressed in literary forms from before until well after the Reformation" (Richard Todd, University of Leiden, for The George Herbert Journal (vol. 32, Nos. 1 &2, Fall 2008/Spring 2009, pp. 121-122.) Your editor has asked: "Please determine the best place to integrate this bit." My response is that both of these works should be integrated with comments on Donne's religious verse, particularly the "Holy Sonnets" (featured in the first chapter of the Mellen book) and also with comments concerning Donne's prose, that is, his sermons and essays. Often in his prose works he employs alchemical discourse in order to express and explain religious phenomena. Albrecht's most recent comment on this subject was published by Oxford University Press inRoberta albrecht (talk) 12:04, 28 July 2014 (UTC) "Notes and Queries," vol 259 [New Series, vol. 61], June 2014, p. 277), where she writes: "When Donne quoted Pico's 'Heptaplus', declaring that the cabalists 'are the Anatomists of words, and have a Theologicall Alchimy to draw soveraigne tinctures and spirits from plain and gross literall matter', the 'Theologicall Alchimy' to which he refers, even as he quotes Pico, originates with Raymond Llull."

Who the HELL is Joshua Adamson?[edit]

I met the name Joshua Adamson in the bio, and also two other bios, Tom Hanks and Stephen Hawking. Well, who the hell is that vampire, who was the life-long friend of men both in the 17. and in the 20. century, and about whom they wrote with the same sentence in each article?

I suggest it is a media hack. There is a Joshua Adamson, he edits the Urban site. Also there is a science student Joshua, etc. Or maybe there is a bored teenager Joshua. Don't you think it is a very stupid way to advertise a name?

DJS ( (talk)), 2008. 11. 29. —Preceding undated comment was added at 22:43, 29 November 2008 (UTC).


If we had more refs to add and/or a bit more specific scholarly info, especially around the poems' content, we could get an upgrade. It's not so far off. Any Donne Officianados out there? Spanglej (talk) 16:18, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. As this article stands, quite a bit of the biographical material seems directly reproduced from a website called Luminarium; but those claims themselves are merely asserted, some are speculative, and none are referenced. I would say the article is not really up to standard, and should be tagged as in need of a good deal of cleanup. As well, the Schama program is simply not available in most of the world, and again, it's just somebody talking, with no sources or references. Much as I like Schama, I would feel more comfortable with a text version of his remarks that had actual references. One writer, for example, cited Schama as the source of the claim that Donne was Master of the Revels, which is completely false, ie, the writer misunderstood something Schama said. (talk) 19:09, 22 July 2010 (UTC)


I introduced some sub-headings. In the 27 May 09 edit I haven't deleted anything, but moved a little to go with new headings.Spanglej (talk) 16:26, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Donne's mother[edit]

Simon Schama, on a recent BBC programme on John Donne, mentions (i) that his mother sent him to Oxford when he was 12 and (ii) that she later fled to the Continent. This doesn't agree with the statement that she died in 1577 -- when he was 4 or 5. Can anyone comment? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:45, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Schama seems to be the source of a couple of misunderstandings. I'd drop him as a reliable source. (talk) 19:10, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

His dad died when he was four or five. His mum fled to the continent in 1595. She sent him to Oxford early so he could get the education without having to take the oath of allegiance that was required when students turned 16. Source: Stubbs, Donne: Reformed Soul. (talk) 11:39, 27 July 2010 (UTC)


If you are going to vandalize this page you had better know how to spell "pancakes" correctly. (talk) 16:51, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

adding Sylvia Plath's comment on Donne[edit]

I plan to add a comment Sylvia Plath made about Donne when she was interviewed on BBC radio in 1962. She was referring to a critic's review of her 1960 book of poetry titled "The Colossus." Does anyone object? Here it is.

"I remember being appalled when someone criticized me for beginning just like John Donne but not quite managing to finish like John Donne, and I felt the weight of English literature on me at that point."

The source is an audio clip from the BBC radio interview that you can hear in this 1988 documentary made for Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Voices and Visions television documentary

Is that a legitimate source? Earththings (talk) 02:14, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Not the point; don't add it. It belongs on the Sylvia Plath page, not on the John Donne page. Note that Plath herself doesn't say she intended to use or imitate Donne, simply that somebody else use Donne as a stick to beat her. (talk) 19:11, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Birth date[edit]

The birthdate 21 January 1572 was added by an anonymous user on 21 September 2009. It was that user's sole edit to Wikipedia, and it did not come with any citation. This date has been tagged since May 2011 as requiring a citation, but nothing has been forthcoming. Because it’s been there for over 2 years now, there are zillions of external sites that now copy this date. But I cannot find any decent authoritative site that is NOT a WP mirror that quotes it. On that basis, I conclude it's not supported by actual historical research, and I am removing it. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 03:29, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Doctor of Divinity discrepancy[edit]

Hi, I don't really do Wikipedia stuff very much, so I hope I'm putting this in the right place. The article currently reads, "Donne became a Royal Chaplain in late 1615, Reader of Divinity at Lincoln's Inn in 1616, and received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Cambridge University in 1618." I think this is incorrect—Colclogh has it in the ODNB that Donne was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1615 at the order of King James.

Note that the citation for the existing passage is not only not to a credible authority but also disagrees with the current wiki content. It takes us to a page that says "In 1616, he was appointed Reader in Divinity at Lincoln's Inn (Cambridge had conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity on him two years earlier)," which would put the date at 1614, not 1618.

Could somebody that knows how to fix stuff fix this, please? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out, I have corrected the error. The Luminarium source is, indeed, not a credible one. NotFromUtrecht (talk) 20:53, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

A Selected Bibliography[edit]


Satires (1593)

Songs and Sonnets (1601)

Divine Poems (1607)

Psevdo-Martyr (1610)

An Anatomy of the World (1611)

Ignatius his Conclaue (1611)

The Second Anniuersarie. Of The Progres of the Soule (1611)

An Anatomie of the World (1612)

Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1624)

Deaths Dvell (1632)

Ivvenilia (1633)

Poems (1633)

Sapientia Clamitans (1638)

Wisdome crying out to Sinners (1639)


Letters to Severall Persons of Honour (1651)

A Collection of Letters, Made by Sr Tobie Mathews, Kt. (1660)


A Sermon Vpon The VIII. Verse Of The I. Chapter of The Acts Of The Apostles (1622)

A Sermon Vpon The XV. Verse Of The XX. Chapter Of The Booke Of Ivdges (1622)

Encania. The Feast of Dedication. Celebrated At Lincolnes Inne, in a Sermon there upon Ascension day (1623)

Three Sermons Upon Speciall Occasions (1623)

A Sermon, Preached To The Kings Mtie. At Whitehall (1625)

The First Sermon Preached To King Charles (1625)

Fovre Sermons Upon Speciall Occasions (1625)

Five Sermons Vpon Speciall Occasions (1626)

A Sermon Of Commemoration Of The Lady Dãuers (1627)

Six Sermons Vpon Severall Occasions (1634)

LXXX Sermons (1640)

Biathanatos: A Declaration of that Paradoxe, or Thesis that Selfe-homicide is not so (1644)

Naturally Sinne, that it may never be otherwise (1647)

Essayes in Divinity (1651)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:19, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

This looks useful, and I think it should be merged into the article. Care is needed with the dates, though, since most of the dates here are for publication rather than composition. NotFromUtrecht (talk) 21:43, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

John Donne was a Protestant. PROOF[edit]

This is in response to several editors, most notably User:Afterwriting have removed the categories 16th and 17th protestants claiming that Donne was not a protestant. If these categories are removed in the future, I will undo such edits citing this proof and reported the removing-users for vandalism.--ColonelHenry (talk) 13:53, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

On my talk page, on 18 August 2012, User:Afterwriting stated: Please stop bullying and threatening other editors over your contentious opinion that Anglicans are Protestants. It's not very nice. Thank you. I responded on my talk page with this reply:

  • Stating a verifiable historical and theological truth is not bullying. That is disingenuous, and uncivil. Anglicans are Protestants. While they aren't Protestant as say "Baptists" they are a protestant demonination and considered by many Anglicans themselves as Protestant. I will concede, we are often more Catholic than the Catholics themselves, and that makes us Protestant in a limited sense. Certainly Anglicanism retains a lot of the Catholic doctrine and theology--but so do the Lutherans. And the Lutherans are not considered "not Protestant." The fact that we rebelled against Roman primacy, establishes the beginning of what it means to be Protestant. The Thirty-Nine Articles proclaim Protestant theological positions (the least of which is the quite Protestant statement that the Bishop of Rome has no power over the Realm of England). In fact, the Anglican Church in the United States is called the "Protestant Episcopal Church." Bishop John Cosin (died 1672) describes Anglicanism as "Protestant and Reformed according to the principles of the ancient Catholic Church." At the time Donne was a priest, the Anglican church was far more Anti-Roman/Anti-Catholic and nearly pietist than it is now. See the Catholic Encyclopedia article which states that during the Elizabethan period, the separation between Rome and Canterbury built in the admission of the doctrinal and liturgical changes which make up mainly the Anglican Reformation, and brought the nation within the great Protestant movement of the sixteenth century. (here). Note that the Catholic Encyclopedia considered Donne to be a protestant writer, and that Donne's writings establish himself firmly as an anti-Catholic...On the other hand, Protestant writers often described their opponents simply as "Catholics". A conspicuous instance is the "Pseudomartyr" of Dr. John Donne, printed in 1610. (found here: [1]) Today, the Oxford Movement has pulled the Anglican church back to its Catholic roots, but the church is still effectively a Protestant denomination. You might want to consider reading your ecclesiastical history and accepting the fact. I would recommend you start by reading the Anglicanism article which states clearly in its lede: Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid 16th century corresponded closely to those of contemporary Reformed Protestantism and these reforms in the Church of England were understood by one of those most responsible for them, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism. To continue saying John Donne is not a Protestant despite being an Anglican clergyman is a baldly false statement that ignores church history. See: the Church of Ireland (Anglicans in Ireland) website statement that it is both protestant and catholic [2], [3], and this independent analyses of the protestant question[4], [5]. As to hard copy references to Donne's protestantism... Donne, John and Carey, John. John Donne. The Major Works: Including Songs and Sonnets and Sermons. (Oxford: Oxford World Classics, 2009); Papazian, Arshagouni, and Papazia, Mary. John Donne and the Protestant Reformation (Wayne State Univ. Press, 2003); Sinfield, Alan. Literature in Protestant England, 1560-1660 (NYC: Routledge Revivals, 2009); Cefalu, Paul. English Renaissance Literature and Contemporary Theory: Sublime Objects of Theology (NYC: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Cruickshank, Frances. Verse and Poetics in George Herbert and John Donne.(Ashgate, 2010); Detweiler, Robert, et al. Religion and Literature: A Reader (Westminster John Knox PRess, 2000); Miola, Robert S. Early Modern Catholicism: An Anthology of Primary Sources (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2007). Regarding the Anglican Church as a protestant church: See Corbett, William. 1824. Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland; and if there's any doubt, read Ryle, J.C. 1960. Five English Reformers.(Note: I will copy this response at Talk:John Donne too, because if it's a long-winded theological debate you want, you will get one.)--ColonelHenry (talk) 13:27, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
You most certainly are a bully and an especially aggressive one if I may say so with all your SHOUTING and ridiculously false accusations of "vandalising". Plenty of other sources ~ Anglican ones, not Roman Catholic ones (what do you expect?) ~ can also be provided as "proof" that Anglicans should not be referred to as Protestants. But as you are obviously such an aggressive bully incapable of civil discussion I am not going to get sucked into your unhealthy behaviour. Afterwriting (talk) 14:32, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I've offered theological, literary scholars, and contemporary references as proof (and they come from around the field, reliable and objective sources. Including an official church publication and website saying "we are protestant." They point to Donne as a Protestant. What have you offered besides vitriol and vandalism?--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:35, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Also, the Anglicanism article with the quote about Anglicanism being a protestant tradition as I discussed above, comes from Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: A Life, Yale University Press, p.617 (1996). Yale, being home to the preeminent Anglican seminary and church scholarship in the U.S.--is not likely to be unreliable. Come with proof, or stop removing relevant categories. --ColonelHenry (talk) 14:40, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
May I recommend you to avoid the word "vandal" and to assume good faith on behalf of others? This would allow to reduce the emotional aspect of the argument and to focus on content. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 15:07, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
And the word "bully" seems to be o.k.? How can you assume good faith when someone ignores the proof you offer? I've focused on content and proving why it should be included, the other malefactors have not. Point that stick equally.--ColonelHenry (talk) 15:20, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't make it clear enough: my comment referred to all participants of the discussion. Civility helps in consensus building. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 15:40, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Post-Oxford movement, it might be debatable whether (High Church) Anglicans are protestants, although I think even there it's basically fine to call Anglicans protestants, and is commonly done by everybody but Anglo-Catholics. In the 17th century it's a ridiculous anachronism to refuse to refer to Anglicans as protestants. Just a few examples: if Anglicans are not protestants, then the Act of Settlement's call for a monarch who is a protestant and also in communion with the Church of England is nonsense. If Anglicans are not protestants, then most of the leading figures in the Protestant Ascendancy were not Protestants. In the US, we always say that every president but Kennedy was a Protestant - despite the presence of several Episcopalians. Before 2009, it was often said that Justices Stevens and Souter (the latter, at least, an Episcopalian) were the only two Protestant Supreme Court justices. Anglo-Catholic POV is already all over all the articles that are actually about Anglicanism. Must we kowtow to it in basically unrelated articles like this, as well? john k (talk) 15:50, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
This is not just Anglo-Catholic POV. In England and other Commonwealth countries it is the usual convention to make distinctions between Anglicans and Protestants. This is also often done in official Roman Catholic statements. What happens in America doesn't decide such issues. Anglicanus (talk) 16:05, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
None of this applies to the 17th century. Which is to say, whether or not you and Archbishop Williams are protestants, Donne and Archbishop Abbot certainly were. And note that I gave several non-American examples. Prior to the Oxford Movement, almost no Anglicans would have disputed being considered protestants. Must I get into A Tale of a Tub, where Martin (Luther) represents the Church of England? However we want to discuss Anglicanism's status since the mid-19th century, the post-Oxford Movement claims of Anglo-Catholics to not be Protestant should not be used to make anachronistic claims about the Church of England in the 17th century. I'd also say that I don't even think "Anglican" ought to be used for people like Donne - the term wasn't heavily used until the 19th century. For two centuries or so after Donne's time, in fact, "Protestant" was a term which implied the Church of England as opposed to the "Dissenters". john k (talk) 16:08, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Even in the 17th century the term Protestant had different meanings - especially when used with regard to Anglicanism - and many real Protestants then and now certainly have not regarded Anglicans as such. You would also find many 17th century Anglicans calling themselves Catholics but we don't normally put them in Catholic categories. But as everyone can agree that they were Anglicans there should be a sensible compromise on this issue by including them in separate categories for Anglicans. Anglicanus (talk) 16:18, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Referring to people in the 17th century as "Anglicans" is really problematic. The preferred nomenclature in the 17th and 18th centuries for a member of the established church was, in fact, "protestant." (Again, witness the Act of Settlement and the Protestant Ascendancy). john k (talk) 17:37, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
John K, I mentioned in reply to Anglicanus on the Dispute Resolution Noticeboard that I would agree to categorizing Donne under a new category called 16th Century Anglicans and that would be an acceptable, good compromise. Would you agree to such a move?--ColonelHenry (talk) 16:24, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
"17th century Anglican" seems very close to an anachronism to me. I'd prefer to avoid it. john k (talk) 17:35, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

This is utterly ridiculous. The 17th century Church of England took that it was 'Protestant' as an article of faith. Donne wasn't an 'Anglican' in the modern sense, as John K above points out, because the question didn't arise. He was a member of a Protestant church. Whether 21st-century Anglicans necessarily consider themselves to be Protestants is utterly irrelevant. 17th-century members of the C of E did. Or if they didn't, they would have been well-advised to keep their opinions to themselves. Unless a source can be cited which indicates that Donne himself expressed an opinion to the effect that though the church he was a member of was Protestant, he wasn't, it is entirely reasonable to assume that someone ordained by the said Protestant church was indeed a Protestant. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:44, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

16th and 17th century Anglicans also considered the Church of England to be a Catholic church. In fact, they considered it to be the Catholic Church of England. Based on the logic of your arguments I must assume that you have no objection to Donne and other Anglicans of these eras also being added to the categories for Catholics for these centuries? Anglicanus (talk) 17:01, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Bullshit. You know full well that you are basing your argument on two entirely different meanings of the word 'Catholic'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:06, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm simply pointing out the poor quality of your arguments. And which of the various meanings of 'Protestant' do you have in mind? Anglicanus (talk) 17:46, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Considering that Donne was raised a catholic in a catholic household and converted after reaching adulthood (when it was politically and socially expedient to do so), I'd have no objection to him being in a 16th century catholic category (since I think he was a protestant before 1600, I'd consider that a 17th century categorization might not historically appropriate, on that basis, 16th century protestant might not be appropriate. So, the categories might as well be 16th Century Catholic, 17th Century Protestant--oh, how the times are changin').--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:31, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. Given that all major protestant groupings in the 17th century professed the Nicene Creed, this argument would apply just as well to Lutherans and Calvinists. It's also irrelevant, since we're not debating whether Donne was "Catholic," but whether he was "Protestant." john k (talk) 17:35, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
The use of the Nicene Creed isn't the line of scrimmage as far as a Protestant/not-Protestant definition. Even the Orthodox Christians use the Creed, but disagree with the Catholics over the latter's use of 'filioque'. To the Orthodox, the Catholics were the first Protestants. However, the chief protestant trait is "we don't acknowledge Rome's primacy" and then the ancillary complaints of only scripture, only faith, only Christ as the instrumentality to achieve salvation. By comparison to the Anglicans (read: Anglo-Catholics) of today, the Church of Rome has been a more protestant faith since 1962. Further, the Baptists use the Nicene Creed and they aren't technically "protestants" since their protest was against other protestants--and not Rome.--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:43, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't saying that it was the line of scrimmage for Protestants. I was referring to how the creed - professed by Catholics, Orthodox, and 16th century Protestants alike, refers to the "one holy catholic and apostolic church." Beyond that, this is needless hair-splitting. The primary historical definition of protestant is simply "those churches descended from those which broke from the Church of Rome during the 16th century." No need to worry about literal "protests" or more radical groups breaking away from more conservative. Things get a bit complicated in the 19th century with churches like the LDS that clearly descend from a protestant tradition, but which are doctrinally radical and organizationally novel, but both the pre-Oxford Church of England and the early Baptist movements are well within the bounds of the most usual definition of "Protestant." john k (talk) 19:13, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I really don't know why you keep going on with all this Anglo-Catholic bashing as if only they object to being called Protestants. I know many Evangelical Anglicans who would also reject this label. So you really ought to know that the meaning of Catholic for Anglicans then and now can mean significantly more than it does for other church traditions. Anglicanus (talk) 17:54, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm not bashing Anglo-Catholics at all (in fact, despite appearances, I would consider myself one in the mold of T.S. Eliot). Others have, I just point out that bringing in an interpretation of Anglicanism as seen through a discussion of definitions tinged with 19th Century Tractarianism is not historically appropriate. We're discussing a man who died in 1631, and we cannot use definitions that are informed using post-Oxford Movement Anglican worldviews. If we're going to discuss a 17th century figure, we should use 17th century definitions, and those contemporary definitions would establish him being a protestant from internal Anglican sources, and from sources from Catholicism and others external. That he is seen as Protestant, that the church at that time was Protestant, that Donne placed himself firmly within protestantism of the time, is all that matters. To do otherwise, would be akin to discussing the mentality of figures from the American Revolution through the jaded lens of today's worldviews post-Progressivism, or playing Bach on a harmonica with blue notes. Clash of interpretations.--ColonelHenry (talk) 18:09, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, if random un-cited people you know say it, it must be true. And I disagree with the idea that the "Catholic" identity of most members of the Church of England in the seventeenth century meant anything very different from the "Catholic" identity of Lutherans at that time. Maybe this is true for Laud and his supporters, but certainly not for low and broad church types who dominated the church before and after the Laudian interlude. At any rate, the sense in which Anglicans understand themselves to be "Catholic" is, for the most part, an idiosyncratic sense that they don't really share with any other denominations, Catholic or Protestant. And again, the question at hand is not whether the Church of England is and was "Catholic". The question is whether a 17th century clergyman in the Church of England was a Protestant. john k (talk) 19:13, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
But to strike at the original question: Donne's doubts of Catholicism start around 1593-1594. While we can't pinpoint the date of his actual conversion (since it seems a process and not a "conversion" as with Saint Paul), we should generally assume it took place after 1594, but before his publication of Pseudomartyr in 1610...likelier even, around the time of his marriage. To include Donne in a category of 16th Century catholics would be historically correct...however, it would be superfluous to include any 16th century category since he didn't achieve his notability as a 16th Century catholic--but as a prose writer/poet/Anglican divine after 1600--id est, as a 17th Century Anglican/Protestant.--ColonelHenry (talk) 17:50, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

"anglican priest"[edit]

While we're in the midst of this, I suppose I should explain that I changed the description of Donne in the introduction as an "Anglican priest" to one as a "clergyman in the Church of England." I think the previous description was anachronistic - members of the Church of England were not normally described as "Anglican" in Donne's time, nor were its clergy generally called "priests." I can claim the authority of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for my changes - their entry on Donne calls him a "Church of England clergyman." john k (talk) 19:19, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

I must admit that it seemed odd to me too. Are there sources referring to Donne as either 'Anglican' or 'a priest'? AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:38, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
The level of some editors ignorance never ceases to amaze me. Afterwriting (talk) 05:28, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Um...WP:CIVIL. Read it sometime.--ColonelHenry (talk) 05:43, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
The pot's calling the kettle black again I see. What a hypocrite you are. Afterwriting (talk) 07:54, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Wow. You can't even be bothered to try to make an argument instead of spewing abuse at people, can you? john k (talk) 13:30, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
This is definitely behavior that can be brought to the attention of higher-ups and met appropriately with various sanctions, including banning. If a user like Afterwriting isn't here to foster a spirit of "crescat scientia" and would rather be hostile and disruptive, banning would be entirely appropriate.--ColonelHenry (talk) 14:10, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Clearly asking an innocent question here was a mistake (it was possibly misguided, and clearly misworded, given that I'd intended to ask whether there were any 'contemporary' sources - but that was my own fault for not checking my posting). Having done what I ought not to have done etc, I'll leave this theological custard-pie fight to the specialists, and return to a subject area where I can expect a little less obnoxiousness, like Race and Intelligence or possibly venture into Health care reform debate in the United States. Enjoy your exercises in facile historical revisionism... AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:52, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Interesting comments coming from an editor who has been so frequently blocked for harassment of other editors. Afterwriting (talk) 07:59, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Having done what I ought not to have done...I like that. Clever, apt retort. Stick around--one fly shouldn't ruin a picnic.--ColonelHenry (talk) 06:53, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes - though evidently attendance at a suburban London C of E primary school immunised me against religion as a basis for a belief system, it has had some side effects. I remember the more obvious and repetitive stuff quite well. I also remember the Vicar (definitely no 'priest') going to great lengths to explain that references to a 'Catholic Church' weren't referring to the one down the road where the local Irish community got their weekly de-sinning. This is all distinctly off-topic though, and if I'm going to offer anything more to this debate, it will need a little more than wise-cracks. Meanwhile, can someone point me in the direction of a credible source which is both 'accessible via the internet' and 'accessible to someone without specialist knowledge' which specifically argues that Donne himself wasn't a Protestant? There may be libraries full of such material - but I can't seem to find any such sources (accessible or otherwise) being cited by those arguing for this position, and without such sources, the discussion is an irrelevance as far as Wikipedia is concerned. AndyTheGrump (talk) 08:40, 19 August 2012 (UTC)


Hello everyone. I've full-protected the article for a week because of the edit-warring. If we can come to a resolution about the content dispute, I can unprotect the page before then, however. I suggest everyone focus their energies on the dispute resolution noticeboard thread so that we can quickly find a reasonable compromise. If anyone has any uncontroversial edits that they would like made in the meantime, feel free to request them using an {{editprotected}} template here on the talk page. Best regards — Mr. Stradivarius (have a chat) 03:46, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

  • Thank you for that. It gives a good opportunity for cooler heads to prevail and a consensus to be reached. Hopefully, this can be resolved shortly.--ColonelHenry (talk) 07:00, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

"Me too" Pop Culture lists[edit]

Do we really need a list of pop culture references without any reputable legacy analysis that is little more than:

  • Hey, x quoted "death be not proud" to sound cool in some crappy Hollywood movie.
  • Unheard-of Garage Band Y said "No man is an Island, Oi oi oi" in a crappy song that isn't even on youtube'
  • Idiot TV reality series star starred in a homemade porn film under the name "John Donne" but didn't know anything he wrote in Episode 1.

Come on, do we really need this? --ColonelHenry (talk) 21:07, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

See: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trivia sections, Wikipedia:"In popular culture" content, Wikipedia:Listcruft, and other related lists. --ColonelHenry (talk) 21:16, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

What do you mean "Two more"[edit]

Under "Early Life" it says that "Two more of his sisters, Mary and Katherine, died in 1581." Except there is no previous mention of any family members, other than his father, having died. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:341F:3190:8DCE:FAA7:B253:6B31 (talk) 07:02, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:John Donne/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Not properly cited, with a trivia section and with the potential to be further expanded. If you want a detailed review and more feedback ask for a general peer-review or a biography peer-review or combine them.--Yannismarou 13:57, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
I upgraded the article, seeing the last improvements.--Yannismarou 21:03, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 21:03, 7 February 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 20:10, 29 April 2016 (UTC)


There was an objection to the final section in 2012 which no one seems to have heeded, judging by the additions of unreferenced and often irrelevant items added by irresponsible editors since then. Everything unreferenced from the the last two sections has now been deleted and two subsections have been added, written according to the MOS:CULTURALREFS guidelines.

The many quotations from Donne's poems and sermons appearing in all sorts of books are hardly significant and tell us little or nothing about Donne's writing except that a lot of people know of him. The notability of some of the authors involved is neither here nor there; Donne's reputation has been established by scholars and does not require the endorsement of authors four centuries later. The point made above in 2010 about Sylvia Plath's mention of Donne holds for all the rest; if use of Donne's work or avoidance of his style is significant at all, mention of it belongs in articles on the writers concerned, not here. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 21:02, 31 December 2016 (UTC)


Done for not keeping of accent deserved hanging - Jonson. I don't agree with him, but when I heard it, I laughed.

Didn't Jonson start his remark by saying that Donne was the first poet in the world for some things, but for not keeping ..etc? If so, shouldn't it be mentioned?Seadowns (talk) 13:51, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

It's hard to take seriously an editor who can't even be bothered to leave his remark in the proper time sequence. In any case, the quotation in question appears in a discussion of Donne's metrics and it's therefore perfectly proper to omit what went before. Mzilikazi1939 (talk) 15:07, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

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