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date: 14 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Donne's songs and sonnets, commonly known as the love lyrics is the focus of this article. The love lyrics are commonly thought to be short non-narrative poems that, in contexts representing experiences of love and sex, articulate the subjective thoughts and emotions of a single speaker. This definition, emerged relatively recently in the history of thinking about literary kinds. It is not clear that Donne himself thought of these poems as a group. The editors of the Variorum have compiled evidence that these poems entered manuscript circulation one by one at different times, perhaps over a period of more than two decades. Donne's earliest readers necessarily encountered them piecemeal; and these poems would seem to have as good a claim as any of his verses to qualify as the random ‘pieces’ that, ‘had been loosely…scattered in his youth’ and that their author later ‘wisht…had been abortive…’.

Keywords: John Donne, songs, sonnets, Variorum, love lyrics, manuscript

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