This volume of John Donne's writings begins with a biography of John Donne's life, as told by Donne's writer friend, Izaak Walton. Walton gives readers a close look at Donne's past, which was plagued with the loss of many close family members. This biographical information helps readers to make better sense of the somber devotions contained in this volume. In his Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, Donne concentrates on the miserable condition of man and the inevitability of death. The devotions are all structured the same, each beginning with a meditation followed by an expostulation and a prayer. These devotions serve as a preview for Donne's Death's Duel Sermon, written near his death in 1631 as his funeral sermon. While Death's Duel paints a grave picture of earthly life tormented by pain and death, it hopes for a bright future in God's love through Christ's resurrection and ascension. -Emmalon Davis, CCEL Staff Writer
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