Poet and churchman John Donne was born in London in 1572. He attended both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, but did not receive a degree from either university. He studied law at Lincoln's Inn, London, in 1592, and was appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Keeper of the Great Seal, in 1598. He became an Anglican priest in 1615 and was appointed royal chaplain later that year. In 1621 he was named dean of St. Paul's Cathedral. Donne prepared for his own death by leaving his sickbed to deliver his own funeral sermon, "Death's Duel", and then returned home to have a portrait of himself made in his funeral shroud. He died in London on March 31, 1631.
John Carey is Merton Professor of English at Oxford University. A distinguished critic, reviewer, & broadcaster, he is the author of several books, including "The Intellectuals & the Masses".