Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne
by Katherine Rundell
***Winner of the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction***
***Winner of the 2023 British Book Award for Non-Fiction: Narrative***
Recommendations from our site
“Rundell is a children’s author who also specializes in Renaissance literature and makes the case that Donne should be as widely feted as William Shakespeare, his contemporary. She writes, ‘Donne is the greatest writer of desire in the English language. He wrote about sex in a way that nobody ever has, before or since: he wrote sex as the great insistence on life, the salute, the bodily semaphore for the human living infinite. The word most used across his poetry, part from ‘and’ and ‘the’, is ‘love”.” Read more...
Award Winning Biographies of 2022
Sophie Roell, Journalist
“I’ve always loved a literary biography, but you don’t get quite so many of them now. It’s difficult, isn’t it, when you’re approaching the life of somebody? Almost always there’s been a previous biography, and it’s difficult to write one that really says something different and brings a new perspective. This one absolutely does and does so brilliantly. I love a book which then sends you on to other books. This is one where you think, ‘Right. I need to tackle John Donne’s poetry’…There’s a wonderful conclusion, where she’s saying why we should all read John Donne now. It’s about how death is always here and we have to confront it, but how doing so makes life absolutely fantastic. In a sense, that’s what his work was about. He was always living in the shadow of death, because of the times he lived in—the plague and the persecution of Catholics (he was born a Catholic). Later he was a man of the church. Death was ever present in those times. You don’t necessarily get life for very long, and you have to hold onto it.” Read more...
The Best Nonfiction Books: The 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize Shortlist
Caroline Sanderson, Journalist