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The Literary Culture of the ReformationGrammar and Grace$
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Brian Cummings

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198187356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187356.001.0001

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God's Grammar

God's Grammar

(p.365) 9 God's Grammar
The Literary Culture of the Reformation

Brian Cummings

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the religious writing of John Donne, a figure caught in the crossfire between opposing theologies. Donne's writing from the death of Elizabeth to the eve of the English revolution forms a summary and archetype of English religion in its most difficult century. The chapter starts by presenting Donne's Conversion of St Paul. Campion's Brag and Campion's Bloody Reasons are shown. In addition, the noise of the Holy Sonnets is explained. The dating of the Holy Sonnets has undergone the same vicissitudes as the timing of Donne's conversion: the two have moved hand in hand. The chapter also considers Donne's dangerous question. Donne's writing shows the paradox of religion and literary culture in the wake of Reformation.

Keywords:   God's grammar, John Donne, religious writing, English revolution, English religion, St Paul, Campion, Holy Sonnets, literary culture, Reformation

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