John Donne (1572-1631) was the most outstanding of the English Metaphysical Poets and a
churchman famous for his spellbinding sermons.
Donne was born in London to a prominent Roman Catholic family but converted to Anglicanism
during the 1590s. At the age of 11 he entered the University of Oxford, where he studied for
three years. According to some accounts, he spent the next three years at the University
of Cambridge but took no degree at either university. He began the study of law at
Lincoln's Inn, London, in 1592, and he seemed destined for a legal or diplomatic career.
Donne was appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Keeper of the Great Seal,
in 1598. His secret marriage in 1601 to Egerton's niece, Anne More, resulted in his
dismissal from this position and in a brief imprisonment. During the next few years
Donne made a meager living as a lawyer.
Donne's principal literary accomplishments during this period were Divine Poems(1607)
and the prose work Biathanatos (c. 1608, posthumously published 1644), a half-serious
extenuation of suicides, in which he argued that suicide is not intrinsically sinful.
Donne became a priest of the Anglican Church in 1615 and was appointed royal chaplain
later that year. In 1621 he was named dean of St. Paul's Cathedral. He attained
eminence as a preacher, delivering sermons that are regarded as the most
brilliant and eloquent of his time.
Book Title from the list compiled by Boris for this Challenge