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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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Acknowledgements -xi


Acknowledgements This volume began as a doctoral thesis. I should like to thank my supervisor, David Lonsdale, for helping me combine Ignatian insights and my academic interests. In gratitude for his patience, I dedicate this book to him. I would also like to thank Anna Abram, Elinor Shaf fer, Thomas McCoog SJ, Philip Sheldrake, René Weis and Jill Kraye for their encouragement and support at dif ferent stages of my research. I am also grateful to the staf f at Heythrop College, University of London, who have kindly helped me throughout my research and the writing up of this book; to series editor James Francis; and to the staf f at Peter Lang, in particular, Graham Speake. Clara Paschini helped me prepare the text for publication. My husband, Dilwyn Knox, my two sons Francesco and Oliver, and Hector have encouraged me, in their various ways, some academic, some not.

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