This book is the product of many years of reading, thinking, and writing about John Donne. It is not the last word on the subject of Donne's Jacobean career, nor is it likely to be my final foray into the rich world of Tudor and Stuart sermons. It is a book that would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of people and institutions, mentioned below. What is lacking in this study is entirely my responsibility, but it has been immeasurably improved by the support I acknowledge here.
First, to my parents I owe the largest debt. Their trust in my abilities and my judgment and their confidence in whatever I accomplished, however small, has given me the courage to take on big tasks. Their work ethic has been my inspiration.
I was introduced to the study of Renaissance literature at the University of Western Ontario by two great minds and incomparable teachers: Balachandra Rajan and Arthur Barker. At the University of Toronto, Hugh MacCallum provided a steady and judicious eye to my studies. And over the course of 20 years, the John Donne Society has been the source of my most long-lasting friendships and collaborations. Dennis Flynn, Tom Hester, Dayton Haskin, Gary Stringer, Ernie Sullivan, and Achsah Guibbory have supported my work and my spirit, and have pushed me to think about Donne's sermons in new ways. I owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.
Other colleagues have also been supportive in scholarly and intellectual as well as other ways. I cannot name them all, but would like to thank Peter Beal, Martin Butler, Tom Cogswell, David Colclough, Dan Doerksen, Ken Fincham, Jeff Johnson, Peter Lake, Peter McCullough, Anthony Milton, Mary Papazian, Annabel Patterson, and Michael Questier for their ready assistance and the inspiration of their own scholarship on my project. Annabel Robinson and Cameron Louis of the University of Regina assisted me with Latin translations of some materials in this book, and Donna Achtzehner and Jennifer Elliott, former graduate students at the University of Regina, thought through some parts of Chapter 4 with me.
The editors at Boydell & Brewer have been encouraging, helpful, and professional in their handling of this manuscript. I want to thank Caroline Palmer and Pru Harrison of the press, and, in particular, Susan Dykstra-Poel for her friendship and support for this project.
The University of Regina has assisted me over the years in many ways: sabbatical leaves, research grants, and in the last months financial assistance in the form of a publication subvention from the President's Publication Fund. Mostly, I want to thank the former Dean of Arts, Dr. Murray Knuttila, for indulging this long project and for making the University of Regina a supportive base from which to conduct the research that has gone into this book.