John Donne and Tate

JMN fecit

There’s a biography of John Donne I’d like to read. As a preacher he was a crowd magnet in the pulpit of Saint Paul’s in London. He wrote love poems, some laced with misogyny, and later wished he hadn’t. He fell in love with and took to wife a teenager, Anne More, confined his affections to her, as he put it, and impregnated her 12 times in 16 years of marriage. Her 12th pregnancy was a stillbirth, and Anne died five days later.

Andrew Tate is jailed in Romania for possible crimes. The targets of his evangelism, juvenile males, take his glorification of brutality and Bugattis seriously. Tate’s lawyer retails the thesis that it’s merely a performance.

Donne was a rake for part of his life, but some of his rakishness was pose.

For Rundell [his biographer], Donne was “an exhausted oversexed lover in the imagination only, but he caught that voice of the libertine and exploded it, made it his own. … If you are looking for a master class in how to look and sound like a womanizer, he offers it.”

Donne did some great writing. Tate has nothing in common with him except as putative fantasist and creator of another hell for women. Counselors are exhorting schoolboys to ignore him. (That should work!) What about girls? It’s hoped they, too, will be helped to avoid being fodder for sexual terrorists and priapic preachers.

(James Shapiro, review of Katherine Rundell, “The Libertine’s Voice: The Life and Love Poems of John Donne,” New York Times, 9-16-22; Emma Bubola and Isabella Kwai, “‘Brainwashing a Generation’: British Schools Combat Andrew Tate’s Views,” New York Times, 2-19-23)

(c) 2023 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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