The English Short Title Catalog Entry for Donne's Poems First Edition, 1633
|ESTC System No.||006193231|
|ESTC Citation No.||S121864|
|Author - personal||Donne, John, 1572-1631.|
|Title||Poems, by J.D. VVith elegies on the authors death.|
|Publisher/year||London : printed by M[iles]. F[lesher]. for Iohn Marriot, and are to be sold at his shop in St Dunstans Church-yard in Fleet-street, 1633.|
|Physical descr.||, 406,  p. ; 4o.|
Donne's poems are published in an affordable quarto edition under his initials, only. Think about how this strategy, which persists to the current era, acts to divert the public impact of having one's name in print. If you can only think of having your name on a title page as a precursor to fame, think about the opposite outcome, as well, and the general loss of privacy that once was so unthinkable that authors actually preferred anonymity to fame.
The poems in this collection contain both the secular lyrics and the "Holy Sonnets," a strategy also used by Herrick. Do you see any sign that Donne participates in Herrick's (and Jonson's) aesthetic of balance between extremes, or is some other agenda driving Donne to expose both the ribald, sexy and satiric poems alongside those occupied only by spiritual concerns? Try comparing the voice in which he addresses "the Sun" in "To the Sun, Rising" and that which he uses to talk to God in Holy Sonnets 5 and 14.
The ESTC "advanced search" on the Author Words "Donne" and the year "1633" will produce five hits, only one of which was this edition. What other editions of Donne's works were circulating in London in the year he died, and what does that tell you about his publishing career? Click here to go to the ESTC home page: http://estc.bl.uk/F/?func=file&file_name=login-bl-estc Also, click on the entry for Poems and scroll down to see the number of surviving copies in England, America, and the other former colonies. Compare this with any poet we have read so far this semester for a surprise.