John Donne was a writer of dazzling extremes. He was a notorious rake and eloquent preacher; he wrote poems of tender intimacy, and lyrics of gross misogyny. This book offers a comprehensive account of early modern life and culture as it relates to Donne's richly varied body of work. Short, lively, and accessible chapters written by leading experts in early modern studies shed light on Donne's literary career, language and works as well as exploring the social and intellectual contexts of his writing and its reception from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century. These chapters provide the depth of interpretation that Donne demands, and the range of knowledge that his prodigiously learned works elicit. Supported by a chronology of Donne's life and works and a comprehensive bibliography, this volume is a major new contribution to the study and criticism on the age of Donne and his writing.