Seventeenth-Century Poetic Genres as Social Categories. A New Reading of the Poetry of John Donne

Author: Takševa, Tatjana
Through the reading records of Donne’s poems and the concept of multiple referentiality, this study examines the social dimensions of early modern genres and the relationship among poetics, rhetoric and the Renaissance doctrines of imitation, placing systematic attention on how the differences oral and written modes of expression influences the process of reading and the early modern understanding of genre.


“Should this dialogue continue, and continue to produce results such as Takseva’s work, I have no doubt that Donne studies will continue to be as fruitful in this century as they were in the previous.” – Prof. David Galbraith, University of Toronto

“This study has a simple, but bold and consequential, argument: that, in an age of widespread manuscript transmission of texts, readers, especially “secondary readers” somewhat chronologically distant from an original audience, participated in process of literary creation through their appropriation of the texts they received and freely interpreted poems according to their own social positions and needs.” – Prof. Arthur F. Marotti, Wayne State University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Professor David Gailbraith
Chapter One –Introduction: Renaissance Genres in Their Social Contexts
Chapter Two – Renaissance Rhetoric, the Culture of Imitation, and Genres: Toward an Early Modern Theory of Reading
Chapter Three – Material Records of Reader Appropriation and the Uncertain Boundaries of Early Modern Genres
Chapter Four – Donne’s Verse Epistles and the Contexts of Genre
Chapter Five – Donne’s An Anatomy of the World as a Sermon in Verse
Chapter Six – Generic Function in Donne’s Satires
Chapter Seven – Some Final Remarks on Appropriative Reading and Genre
Primary Sources in Print
Secondary Sources