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The Courtier's Library

The Courtier's Library


John Donne

      Donne wrote this little squib in Latin between 1603 and 1611. It starts with an introduction explaining how a courtier may pass as learned and cultured without going to the bother of acquiring any learning or culture. The secret, he says, is to have read books no-one else has; he then gives a list of imaginary books whose titles, authors and subjects are a satirical comment on various people and schools of thought then fashionable. It circulated in handwritten copies and gave great entertainment to his friends and acquaintances, but was not printed until 1650, twenty years after his death. Our edition is a translation by E.M. Simpson with detailed notes explaining the jokes and references.


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Courtly Reading and Secretarial Mediation
in Donne's Courtier's Library
by Prof. Piers Brown, Kenyon U

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