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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on John Donne's travels and earliest publications. In the decade between his dismissal from Lord Keeper Thomas Egerton's secretariat in 1602 and the death of Robert Cecil, in 1612, Donne's activities included his 1605–6 travel on the continent and the advent of his earliest publications. These activities must be understood in the context of events with large political implications: the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot in November 1605, and in 1606 the promulgation of the Oath of Allegiance as a defensive weapon against traitorous Catholics. This article therefore includes discussion of the oath, as well as the fall from favour of the most significant political supporter of toleration for Catholicism early in the Jacobean reign, Henry Percy, another friend of Donne's. Discussion of Donne's own travel will require explanation of the true date of his Latin letter to Sir Henry Goodere: 1605, rather than 1611 as has long been thought.

Keywords: John Donne, Thomas Egerton, Gunpowder plot, Sir Henry Goodere, Oath of Allegiance

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