In their second episode, Colin and Clare look at the dense, digressive and often dangerous satires of John Donne and other poets of the 1590s. It’s likely that Donne was the first Elizabethan author to attempt formal verse satires in the vein of the Roman satirists, and they mark not only the chronological start of his poetic career, but a foundation of his whole way of writing. Colin and Clare place the satires within Donne’s life and times, and explain why the secret to understanding their language lies in the poet's use of the ‘profoundly unruly parenthesis’.
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