Course overview

During this 6 week course, we will chart John Donne’s sometimes ambiguous journey through the febrile world of late sixteenth and early seventeenth century England. We will explore his poetry and prose and place it in the context of his age, while evaluating his position as one of the greatest poets in the English tradition. As we follow his journey through London and the Court, and from love poet to preacher, we will discuss social conditions, politics, religion and art of the period. Donne’s poems and prose will be published on Canvas. There is no need to buy a text.

Course description

John Donne, Anne Donne, Undone, was how Donne’s private life was encapsulated after marriage, and a part of the course will be an exploration of his relationships and the love poetry that resulted, poetry which naturally exists as a part of the long tradition of the love lyric in English. Unjustly neglected for several centuries after his death until his early twentieth century rediscovery, John Donne is now regarded as one of the finest poets in the English tradition, a master of forms, regular and irregular, and a poet, moreover, possessed of an ability to write across several genres, such as love poetry, satire and metaphysical wit. As recent works have illustrated he was also a man of successive reinventions as love poet, satirist and preacher to James I. We will discover what motivated these successive reinventions and how his poetry and prose reflects the instability of the world into which he was born and negotiated his path. The course will be accompanied by references to art and a discussion of the evolving religious situation of Puritanism in Britain.

The course will act as an introduction to the age through Donne’s work and will inspire you to read more deeply into the literature of the period such as the Metaphysical Poets, the Cavalier Poets and the tradition of English Mystical Verse.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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