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The Eye of the Eagle

John Donne and the Legacy of Ignatius Loyola


Francesca Knox Bugliani

John Donne’s family were committed Catholics. His two uncles were Jesuits. One of them, Jasper Heywood, was the leader of the Jesuit mission in England, while Donne’s mother was a recusant who was forced to leave the country in 1595. In this detailed and historically contextualized study, the author argues that Donne was greatly influenced in his journey from militant Roman Catholicism to ordination in the Church of England by Ignatius of Loyola’s religious ideals and in particular by his Spiritual Exercises.
The book describes the pervasive influence of the Spiritual Exercises on late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Catholicism and Protestantism. In this light, it offers a close reading of Donne’s preordination religious poems and prose with constant reference to the sermons. These works are usually read through the tinted lenses of ‘Catholicism’ or ‘Protestantism’ or other religious ‘-isms’. The reading proposed here argues instead that Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises were for Donne a means to transcend the simplistic and perilous divisions of contemporary Catholicism and Protestantism.


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Contents - ix


Contents Acknowledgements xi Citations xiii Introduction 1 Chapter One John Donne Criticism and the Ignatian Legacy 5 Chapter Two Discretion and Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises in Donne’s Times 21 Chapter Three Mental Prayer, Discretion and Donne’s Early Religious Poems 69 Chapter Four Essays in Divinity, Discretion and the Spiritual Exercises 111 Chapter Five Donne’s Biblical Exegesis 149 Chapter Six Donne’s Theology 185 Chapter Seven Donne’s Ecclesiology 221 Conclusion 263 xAppendix I Publications Related to the Spiritual Exercises in England (1579–1633) 273 Appendix II The Date of Donne’s Essays in Divinity, ‘Divine Meditations’ and ‘La Corona’ 287 Appendix III Some Remarks on the 2001 Edition of Donne’s Essays in Divinity 293 Bibliography 299 Index 335

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