In 1906, having been assigned Izaak Walton's Life of Donne to read for his English class, a Harvard freshman heard a lecture on the long disparaged 'metaphysical' poets. Years later, when an appreciation of these poets was considered a consummate mark of a modernist sensibility, T. S. Eliot was routinely credited with having 'discovered' Donne himself. John Donne in the Nineteenth Century tracks the myriad ways in which 'Donne' was lodged in literary culture in the Romantic and Victorian periods. The early chapters document a first revival of interest when Walton's Life was said to be 'in the hands of every reader'; they explore what Wordsworth and Coleridge contributed to the conditions for the 1839 publication of the only edition ever called The Works, which reprinted the sermons of 'Dr Donne'. Later chapters trace a second revival, when admirers of the biography, turning to the prose letters and the poems to supplement Walton, discovered that his hero's writings entail the sort
Dayton Haskin holds degrees from Yale and from the University of London, and teaches Renaissance and comparative literature at Boston College. The author of Milton's Burden of Interpretation, he is a former President of the Milton Society of America. He has also served as President of the John Donne Society and is a member of the advisory board for The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne. His current research focuses on the teaching of early modern literature in the period when English departments were first created in U.S. colleges.