LIT255 : John Donne

Convener(s): Dr Emma Rhatigan


Please note: This module may or may not run in any given semester. Please check with the tutor.

General Information

This module focuses on the work of one of the most charismatic, provocative, and intellectually challenging poets and preachers of the early modern period, John Donne. Ranging across Donne’s writings, we will consider his erotic and religious poetry, political satires, letters, and sermons. The module will examine the social and literary circles in which Donne’s work was written and read, with a particular emphasis on contemporary cultures of print and manuscript, and also seek to locate Donne’s work in the wider context of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century society, exploring, for example, his engagement with court politics, religious controversy, debates about women, and the exploration of the New World. The module will conclude with an examination of the critical reception of Donne’s work and, in particular, the ways in which his biography has been constructed from the seventeenth-century to the present day.


The module is taught in one lecture and one seminar each week. The lectures provide contextual background and introduce a series of interpretative frameworks for reading Donne’s works. The seminars provide opportunities for both detailed close reading and participation in broader debates in Donne studies.


The module is assessed by

1 x close reading paper; 1,000 words (25%)
1 x research essay; 3,000 words (75%)

Contact Details

Dr Emma Rhatigan

Information last changed: Thursday 07th of April 2016 :: 01:16:23 PM (BST)

Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course convener.


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK