John Donne's 1622 Gunpowder Plot Sermon: A Parallel-Text Edition

John Donne's 1622 Gunpowder Plot Sermon: A Parallel-Text Edition

Jeanne Shami $70.00

Published in 1997 | 150 pages | cloth | ISBN: 978-0-8207-0261-2


“Most important, after all, is to announce Jeanne Shami's discovery and carefully prepared edition, which offers Donne scholars no less than a new sermon manuscript and text; such a discovery, so well presented and published, cannot help but reshape our understanding of Donne's sermon art and the complex relations between Jacobean religious politics and literary-sermonic discourse.” — Sixteenth Century Journal

“Shami's useful edition draws welcome attention to the manuscript publication of Donne's sermons, but it also has a valuable contribution to make to critical understanding of Donne's poetry.” — Times Literary Supplement

“We are surely fortunate to have MS Royal 17.BXX so well reproduced and carefully transcribed. . . . Donne scholars and students of the period are much in [Shami's] debt.” — John Donne Journal "

Book Information:

This volume presents the only “authorial” manuscript ever discovered for any of John Donne's sermons. Jeanne Shami's discovery of this manuscript in the British Library's Royal Manuscripts Collection—as a miscellaneous and unattributed sermon text—is indeed a cause for celebration among Donne scholars. Manuscript sources exist for only 16 of Donne's 160 sermons, and this is the first to be identified as corrected in his own hand. The implications of Shami's discovery are profound. Transcribed immediately after Donne delivered the sermon on November 5, 1622, this manuscript version and its corrections give us important new information about Donne's habits of composition and revision. In addition, the existence of an authorial manuscript version requires us to reconsider the textual status of George Potter and Evelyn Simpson's ten-volume California edition of Donne's sermons published in 1962. Their edition has, to date, been relied upon as “definitive.” Potter and Simpson's version was based on the only printed version of this sermon in Fifty Sermons, printed in 1649.

The substantive differences between this newly discovered manuscript and the version printed in 1649 reveal much about the political considerations impinging on Donne in 1622. The revisions suggest that he changed his sermons for stylistic and rhetorical reasons but also for political ones, and that his intentions for the sermons may have changed over time. In this parallel-text edition, Shami introduces the work by placing this sermon in its textual, cultural, and scholarly contexts. The sermon itself is reproduced in facsimile, and Shami provides a complete transcription for each page. The sermon is also keyed to its earliest printed source, that published in 1649, and also to volume and line numbers in the Potter and Simpson edition."

Author Information:

JEANNE SHAMI is professor of English at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on Donne and the author of John Donne and Conformity in Crisis in the Late Jacobean Pulpit (2003) and editor of Renaissance Tropologies. She is currently editor-in-chief of the Oxford Handbook of John Donne (with Tom Hester and Dennis Flynn), consulting editor for the new Oxford edition of the Sermons of John Donne; and editorial advisory board member for the Donne Variorum project.


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