William Shakespeare and John Donne

Stages of the soul in early modern English poetry

By Angelika Zirker

William Shakespeare and John Donne


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3331-1
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: February 2019
  • BIC Category: POETRY / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, LITERARY CRITICISM / Shakespeare, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: poetry & poets, Literature & literary studies / Shakespeare studies & criticism, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800
  • Series: The Manchester Spenser


This study analyses concepts and representations of the soul in the poetry of William Shakespeare and John Donne. It shows how the soul becomes a linking element between the genres of poetry and drama, and how poetry becomes dramatic whenever the soul is at its focus. This double movement can be observed in Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece and Donne's Holy Sonnets: in these texts, the connection between interiority and performance, psychology and religious self-care can be found, which is central to the understanding of early modern drama and its characteristic development of the soliloquy. The study thus offers a new reading of the poems by Shakespeare and Donne by analysing them, in different ways, as staged dialogues within the soul. It contributes to research on the soliloquy as much as on concepts of inwardness during the early modern period. The book is aimed at readers studying early modern literature and culture.

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