Literary Nonfiction. Art Criticism. John Donne, the metaphysical poet who hecame Dean of St Paul's Cathedral wrote his own epitaph and prescribed his own monument shortly before he died in 1631. They were carved shortly after by Nicholas Stone, the foremost English sculptor of his day, and survived the Great Fire of London. The carving itself skilfully and intelligently resolves the problem of depicting an upright figure in a shroud. As a work of art it is extraordinary. But the main concern of this essay is: what did Donne mean by it? The poet of sexuality, whether exalted or clinical, was still obsessed by the body in his religious writings. His monument represents him in the state of death and at the point of resurrection. Nigel Foxell's close and sympathetic reading of the symbolism of the monument yields convergent multiple meanings which enrich our understanding both of the statue and the great poet and man it represents.
Nigel Foxell was born in London on July 22, 1931. Foxell is the author of five novels, poetry and Sardinia without Lawrence. His other Menard Press book, still in print, is the longest guide to a village church: AMBERLEY CHURCH: A CRITICAL APPRECIATION (2005).Author City: USA