John Donne is best known as a poet of love, brilliantly able to recreate a man’s experience of emotions and realities. But he is also a poet of the spiritual journey. His religious poems speak of shame, fear and self-conscious complexity and doubt, but his sermons can soar into a word-music seldom equalled, or can condense theology into epigrams as witty as those which date from his youthful lusts. He fascinates because he is a man battered by sex - and by God.David Edwards has written an extremely readable book which ranges over all Donne’s poetry and prose, and which relates the literature to what is known or probable about the life. He takes twentieth-century research and criticism into careful account but aims to provide more than a detailed examination of a limited part of the subject. He is not sentimental about Donne’s faults and limitations, and he does not try to sound superior to either the poet or the preacher. His aim is to achieve a portrait of a living man, a man who both suffered and gloried in his experience of flesh and spirit.