No man is an island – A selection from the prose by John DonneThis meditative prose conveys the essence of the human place in the world – past and present.
Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: It tolls for thee
Perhaps no one wrote better about the human condition – heart, body and soul – than John Donne (1572–1631). Known in his youth as a ‘great Visitor of Ladies, a great Frequenter of lays, a great writer of conceited Verses’, the dashing ‘Jack’ Donne became in later years the revered Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Lovers of Donne will relish his prose, which is as witty and passionate as his poetry. This collection, compiled especially for The Folio Society by the literary editor Rivers Scott in 1997, begins with Donne’s early Paradoxes and Problems, described by their author as ‘swaggerers’. Here Donne enjoys himself addressing worldly considerations. He argues that women ‘ought to paint themselves’, that ‘a wise man is known by much laughing’ and even, playing devil’s advocate in his ‘Defence of Women’s Inconstancy’, that women should change their lovers along with their underwear.
Despite the ribald vein of some of his work, Donne was also much concerned with spirituality. His study of suicide, Biathanatos, is the first work in English on the subject; his Devotions, including a moving account of his near-fatal illness, attempt to reconcile the earthly with the divine; while his thundering sermons, as impressive on the page as they must have been from the pulpit, remind us that the great questions of life have not changed in four centuries.
This reissued edition contains a series of carefully chosen contemporary engravings. Among them are original frontispieces and title pages from several of his works, and scenes that illustrate his themes, including London landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral. These black-and-white images contrast beautifully with the book’s rich purple endpapers and slipcase.
"No man is an island" - " For Whom the Bell Tolls" by John Donne Poeme animation
John Donne was born in to a London merchant and his wife. The subsequent ruler, James I, tolerated Catholicism, but advised Donne that he would achieve advancement only in the Church of England. Having renounced his Catholic faith, Donne was ordained in the Church of England in For the next several years, Donne moved his family throughout England, traveled extensively in France and Italy, and attempted unsuccessfully to gain positions that might improve his financial situation. A very successful priest, Donne preached several times before royalty; his sermons were famous for their power and directness. For the last decade of his life, before his death in , Donne concentrated more on writing sermons than on writing poems, and today he is admired for the former as well as the latter.
No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thy friend's Or of thine own were: Any man's death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. I can lose myself in the deep thoughts that this poem provokes.
The Interpretation of "No Man Is an Island" – A Line of quote by John Donne
Donne is approaching death., O ne of the consequences of our move towards secularism is that some literary forms are, in a very real sense, closed books to us. Collections of sermons are no longer considered part of literature — nor apparently shelved as such in major libraries, even when the writer is otherwise of importance.
He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are noted for their strong, sensual style and include sonnets , love poems, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams , elegies , songs, satires and sermons. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor , especially compared to that of his contemporaries. Donne's style is characterised by abrupt openings and various paradoxes, ironies and dislocations. These features, along with his frequent dramatic or everyday speech rhythms, his tense syntax and his tough eloquence, were both a reaction against the smoothness of conventional Elizabethan poetry and an adaptation into English of European baroque and mannerist techniques. His early career was marked by poetry that bore immense knowledge of English society and he met that knowledge with sharp criticism.