The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne, Volume 7, Part 1: The Holy Sonnets

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9780253347015: The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne, Volume 7, Part 1: The Holy Sonnets
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Praise for previous volumes:
"This variorum edition will be the basis of all future Donne scholarship." ―Chronique

This is the 4th volume of The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne to appear. This volume presents a newly edited critical text of the Holy Sonnets and a comprehensive digest of the critical-scholarly commentary on them from Donne’s time through 1995. The editors identify and print both an earlier and a revised authorial sequence of sonnets, as well as presenting the scribal collection―which contains unique authorial versions of several of the sonnets―inscribed by Donne’s friend Rowland Woodward in the Westmoreland manuscript.

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About the Author:

Gary A. Stringer is Professor of English at Texas A&M University.

Paul A. Parrish is Regents Professor and head of the Department of English at Texas A&M University.

Review:

An occasion for celebration. Among the most ambitious and valuable collaborative scholarly enterprises at the end of the twentieth century. Superb. (Early Modern Literary Studies)

Academic libraries and specialists in Renaissance and 17th–century studies should feel compelled to own each and every volume of this series. (Seventeeth Century News)

In the end, the Elegies are experiments in rhetoric, and whilst, for Donne as for Shakespeare, that does not automatically entail insincerity, it refuses to make sincerity the touchstone of excellence. We are seldom reminded as forcefully as by these poems that in the Latin poetry which underlies them the idea of rhetorical figuration is itself imaged as the application of cosmetics. March 2001 (New Criterion)

Like its predecessors, . . . [this] volume of the Donne Variorum enterprise to appear is a triumph in every way. (John Donne Journal)

. . . This edition immediately displaces all its predecessors, and will be indispensable for scholars and libraries. (TLS)

In this third volume in a projected eight-volume series, Stringer presents the most authoritative texts and fullest editorial history of the elegies, including textual apparatus from all known manuscripts and editions from the 17th century onward, and also a comprehensive summary of scholarly and critical commentary on the elegies (also from Donne's era onward). The remarkable insights in the textual/editorial component include identification of the most authoritative manuscript for the elegies (housed in the New York Public Library) and a persuasive speculation that the first 12 elegies in this manuscript reflect Donne's intended sequence. Critical insights reveal the early trend not to treat the elegies as a separate group but to integrate them into a discussion of Donne's amatory verse; the value of using the elegies as context for Donne's later amatory verse, notably Songs and Sonnets; moralistic and biographical readings, which sometimes characterize Donne as a libertine and denounce him for licentiousness; Donne as the first poet to write love elegies in English; the coteries for which the elegies were written and the scribal culture that copied and recopied them for presentation to such audiences of intellectuals. The volume contains five indexes and the most comprehensive bibliography on the elegies now available. Indispensable for large collections supporting 17th–century literature.February 2001 (A. C. Labriola Duquesne University)

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