This book is the product of more than thirty-five years' reflection on the life of John Donne. I make no apology for this fact, nor am I finished thinking about Donne. But in the course of all this time I have been helped by many organizations and individuals, not all of whom I will remember to name here. Bear with me.
My family—my wife Judith Kamber and my daughters Mara, Anna, and Molly Flynn—are owed most of these thanks, for suffering me to indulge my obsession.
I was introduced to the study of Donne and his writings by James M. Zito and Marjorie H. Nicolson of Columbia University, where Edward W. Tayler also helped me do my early writing on the subject.
More recently I have been shown ways to improve my writing by John W. O'Malley, and also by Achsah Guibbory, Dayton Haskin, M. Thomas Hester, Jeanne Shami, and John T. Shawcross, all members of the John Donne Society. I thank each of them for value they have added to my work; and I apologize for faults remaining.
I have benefited greatly from grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and from sabbatical leaves awarded by the Trustees of Bentley College.
To the administrations and staffs of the Harvard University Libraries (especially the Houghton Library), the Solomon R. Baker Library ( Bentley College), the Roman Archives of the Jesuits, the Huntington Library, the Beinecke Library, the Boston Public Library, the New York Public Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Ludwig-Maximilian‐ Universitätsbibliothek, the British Library, the Public Record Office, the archives of the English Province of the Jesuits, the Union Theological Seminary Library, the Fordham University Library and Columbia University's Butler Library: my thanks, I remain hopelessly indebted to you.
And thanks to Hugh Amory, Arthur Barker, Tony Bonaparte, M. L. Brown, Edward Chalfant, David Chanoff, Steve Cogan, Joe Cronin,