Abstract

John Donne's The Courtier's Library (ca. 1603–11) is a catalogue of imaginary books that derives its inspiration from Rabelais's satirical description of the Library of St. Victor. Donne's depiction of courtly knowledge parodies the humanist work that secretaries performed for their masters by offering a path to ignorance and mockery rather than a path to learning and advancement. This essay investigates The Courtier's Library, published here in a new translation (see Appendix), in the context of Donne's habits of reading, marginal annotation, and note-taking, examining both the complicated negotiation involved in producing knowledge for courtly display, and Donne's own attempts to reconcile the roles of secretary, scholar, and gentleman.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1935-0236
Print ISSN
0034-4338
Pages
pp. 833-866
Launched on MUSE
2008-10-03
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived 2009
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