22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2002
Carey is an undeniably brilliant critic and a subtle analyst. However, his basic premises focus on Donne as a guilty apostate Catholic, overwhelmingly ambitious,sycophantic and self-centred. That Donne had feet of clay, I have no doubt, but I find the hostility to Donne here a tad heavy-handed. People looking to understand Donne should read this as a corrective to the hagiographic tradition which started with Walton. On the other hand, I find it hard to embrace so fundamentally unfriendly a view, and I incline to agree with David Edwards in his critique of Carey in his "John Donne: Man of Flesh and Spirit". I accept Donne's sincerity as an Anglican convert, and find in him a more intense and essentially honest spirituality than Carey seems ready to credit.Still, a stimulating book.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2011
I found this book excellent as it deals honestly with the obvious psychological problems that Donne had, while emphasising his extraordinary talent. I personally did not find it at all negative, in fact I felt that Mr Carey was extremely sensitive in his treatment of this very difficult poet and seemed to be writing as an old friend of Donne's. It certainly increased my appreciation of John Donne whose poetry had struck me as perverse when I was first introduced to it at a course. My only caveat: if you don't believe in the influence of the psyche on one's life and writing, this is not the book for you.