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Sermon Notes from John Donne in the Manuscripts of Francis Russell, Fourth Earl of Bedford

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-313
Number of pages36
JournalEnglish Literary Renaissance
Issue number2
DateAccepted/In press - 14 Apr 2014
DatePublished (current) - 7 Nov 2016


This essay presents the new discovery of an extensive manuscript collection, written and collected by Francis Russell, fourth earl of Bedford, and containing unique extracts from the works of John Donne (sermons, poetry, and other prose). Based on these extracts Russell ranks among the most prolific of contemporary respondents to Donne, yet his manuscripts remain almost entirely ignored. A full record of these extracts will be presented, after which special attention will be paid to Russell's sermon notes (often taken from attendance): what these can tell us about Donne's pulpit rhetoric, and about the gaps between the text as preached and as written. Whereas Donne and Russell are the focal points, this essay also contributes to the history of reading, sermon studies, and more generally, to early-modern commonplacing, notetaking, and manuscript studies.

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  • Centre for Material Texts

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    Licence: CC BY-NC


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