Katherine Rundell is a scholar but she doesn’t write like one. A Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, Rundell has made a name in children’s books, but with this biography she has brought to life one of the most intriguing figures of the Elizabethan Age. And she has done it with a very light touch.
John Donne was an adventurer, soldier, legal scholar, figure about the court, and priest. But we remember him primarily as poet who had that rare ability to combine the erotic and the spiritual. His love poetry operates on both levels, making his poems a resource for wooers and pilgrims alike.
Rundell’s book, Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne, employs drawings, poems, and humor to give us a life that is difficult to distill, hence the subtitle. John Donne, though he has some enduring essentials, is always morphing in surprising directions. I enjoyed the journey and this very well-written book. It’s #8 on my list of 2022 Best Reads.
#9 – A Place Like Mississippi by W. Ralph Eubanks
#10 – Shaking the Gates of Hell by John Archibald