A Study of the Imagery Found in John Donne's Sermons at St. Paul's, 1624-1627

Ann Regis Bergin, Fordham University


INTRODUCTION The purpose of this essay is to shed more light on the picture of the man in question, John Donne, seventeenth century poet, essayist, and preacher. To do this it will be necessary to show how such features as the century in which he lived, his family, his associates, his education, his accomplishments, made their imprint upon his written work. The chief tool used in this work rill be a selected group of John Donne's sermons, namely, those preached at St. Paul's Cathedral between the years 1624-1627. This group of fourteen sermons has been selected because they show evidence of his maturity and furnish us with the necessary material for an analysis of his character. The seventeenth century was a century of violent theological upheavals. In certain respects this age can be called the age of sermons. Several factors combined to mould the role of the preacher. In the seventeenth century, pulpit oratory played a vital part in reflecting the various views and opinions of the time. In fact, sermons were considered, more or less, as a public pronouncement of views held by an appreciable number of contemporary Englishmen. Nevertheless, most sermons were so stamped with conviction and urgency of appeal, that the individual's views also could easily be detected in the orator’s words. In fact, “the sermon was intimately bound up with the Oracles of God." The Puritans, for example turned to their preacher for guidance and light. They recognised the appointed preacher as an "authority to whom God, in His inscrutable wisdom has bidden lesser men be subject."

Subject Area

Religion|Religious history|British and Irish literature|Philosophy|Spirituality

Recommended Citation

Bergin, Ann Regis, "A Study of the Imagery Found in John Donne's Sermons at St. Paul's, 1624-1627" (1958). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28673356.