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John Donne: Uomo di carne e di spirito.

David L. Edwards. John Donne: Man regarding Flesh along with Spirit.
Grand Rapids and also Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002. Pbk. xiv + 368 pp. + 9
b/w pls. index. bibl. $25. ISBN: 0-8028-0522-1.
Dean involving King's College, Cambridge, David L. Edwards provides pursued an equally
distinguished profession in the Anglican Church, serving as Canon regarding Westminster Abbey,
Speaker's Chaplain inside the Home of Commons, and Provost of Southwark Cathedral, London.
Edwards's John Donne: Man of Flesh along with Spirit, have their flaws; still, such a magazine
reflects its author's considerable historical knowledge along with unwavering Anglican
commitments. The Actual e-book divides straight into three sections: "Donne's Life" (chaps. 1-4),
which--laying aside the initial, polemical chapter--presents an extremely readable biography; "About
Donne" (chaps. 5-6), which statements to refute much associated with contemporary Donne
scholarship; and "Donne Speaks" (chaps. 7-10), which in turn gathers extensive passages coming
from Donne's poetry along with prose, most interpreted biographically. having intimated in which it
has its flaws, i want to begin by simply acknowledging its strengths.
Though a bold claim, Edwards warrants comparison to Izaak Walton, whose celebrated Lifestyle
associated with Donne is constantly on the shape readers' images of Donne's life, mind, along with
art (pace Carey). Ben Jonson features his Drummond and Samuel Johnson his Boswell, however
Drummond's and also Boswell's reminiscences merely complement their more famous friends'
histories; they are usually doing not necessarily constitute their colleagues' literary personalities,
whereas Walton provides for us the actual witty, sinning Jack whom converts for the grave Dr.
Donne, dean regarding St. Paul's. Along With a fantastic deal the better that will his conversion
restores him towards the Church associated with England. Walton writes for you to edify also as
please; above all, he writes as a committed Anglican. Thus can Edwards, which interests a new
readership associated with comparable faith. (It hardly surprises that the Episcopal book Club
involving America offers included John Donne: Man associated with Flesh as well as Spirit among its
featured selections.) a twenty-first-century Izaak Walton, Edwards writes as Donne's latest, most
savvy Anglican-Episcopal champion, though modesty may well lead him to refuse the comparison.
Please note in which I do not necessarily disparage Edwards's book pertaining to its theological
commitments. having spent a range of twenty years charting the particular scholarly-critical
Donnean dialogue, I get arrive at conclude in which Donne's strongest visitors inevitably find by
themselves mirrored in their reading and writing. With Regard To "there isn't any mystery in the
searching glass until somebody looks directly into it," as Jungian. Scanning my bookshelf, I note an
Anglican author that celebrates an Anglican Donne; a new Catholic which discovers a cryptoCatholic Donne; the Catholicturned-Anglican whom admits to some guilty, apostate Donne; a new
Lutheran who enforces Donne's Lutheranism; a new Calvinist whose Donne capitulates for the
Genevan's lex terribilis; the skeptic pertaining to whom Donne doubts; an atheist regarding whom
Donne feigns piety; the feminist whose Donne worships Sophia; and thus on. As H. R. Coursen
(another Jungian critic of Shakespeare) writes, "any claim to critical objectivity signals an inevitable
surrender to always be able to unperceived subjectivity. the critic invariably stands along with
unfolds himself even because he believes which he will be illuminating that universe regarding
shadows" constitutive involving art (Compensatory Psyche, [1986], 63). Understandably, Edwards
"stands and unfolds himself" when currently talking about Donne, as possess others just before him.

Edwards rises in order to his very best when writing involving Donne's lifestyle and also times: his
learning, wit, as well as writing type shine via your biographical chapters, making these one in the
most engaging and also pleasant regarding his work. Edwards does not pretend to supplant R. C.
Bald's regular scholarly biography; such as Walton, he aims to be able to please. His presentation
regarding Donne's Catholic qualifications (and of the plight regarding Catholics throughout Tudor as
well as Stuart England) remains sensitive and fair. Still, becoming himself an Anglican cleric--as he
claims, his "is the initial book about Donne the preacher actually to are already published with a
man who has preached often within London, while he did" (viii)--Edwards tends to become able to
admire more than evaluate Donne's religious poetry as well as prose. Indeed, his cautious selection
of sermon passages generally seems to serve numerous practical, pastoral aims. First, Edwards
seeks for you to set up Donne's Anglican orthodoxy; second, as well as salutarily, he makes Donne's
sermon artwork accessible for you to general visitors (a daunting task, as Donne's learned, oratorical
type hardly accords using modern tastes); third, he seeks the actual living message in Donne's
exemplary life and also works. A Lot More when compared with help to make us better readers
associated with Donne, Edwards aims to produce his viewers better Anglicans.

Of course, Donne emerges as a "man of flesh" also as "of ... spirit." Unfortunately, Edwards's reading
with the Songs and also Sonets reveals small greater than the restrictions inherent in these
Romantic approaches to literary biography. Edwards assumes, thus, that will Donne writes
throughout his own voice, in zero way masking, never the poseur; that will Donne usually writes via
actual experience, addressing real people (typically, his wife) throughout real settings; and also that
will Donne wears his meaning upon his poetic sleeve. Irony, ambiguity, obscurity, and an
allusiveness borne involving political censorship: these and other such encodings locate simply no
space inside Edwards's model of the adore poetry, that requires little interpretation beyond
contemplating where Donne ended up being when he wrote, what he has been thinking and also
sensation whilst writing, as well as whom he has been addressing. Reduced for you to therefore
many tawdry records with the poet's sexual experience, the particular youthful erotic poems suffer

especially, becoming shorn associated with his or her intellectual playfulness, rhetorical
pyrotechnics and, above all, the actual comedy involving language that has made these lyrics
consequently engaging, consequently challenging, consequently intriguing in order to consequently
many viewers and so worthy associated with careful textual study. Worse, Edwards delivers his
biographical studying as getting a cure-all in order to expert Donne criticism. Launching a tedious
and mainly ineffectual critique of contemporary theory, the particular introduction and center
chapters detract in the book's narrative unity. I imagine that his general readership will find these
chapters distracting, whilst serious Donne scholars will treat them as so much cannon fodder-assuming that they consider the time as well as energy to read along with respond.
Readers must forgive (better, forego) the actual book's polemical chapters and enjoy Donne's life,
here retold throughout fine Waltonian fashion.
JAMES S. BAUMLIN

Southwest Missouri State University

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