A Donne A Day 19: Meditation 17

Welcome back to the A Donne A Day podcasts. Actually, that’s for me: you didn’t go anywhere, but I got buried under the Term Avalanche. With some inspiration from EDUCAUSE, though, and with particular inspiration from a very interesting moment toward the end of my Donne seminar yesterday, I went home last night and recorded this podcast. It’s my reading of “Meditation 17” from Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, a prose work Donne wrote during a near-fatal illness late in his life. “Meditation 17” is the most famous selection from this work. You’ll recognize one part of it immediately.

In my class, though, I emphasized another part, one that I find even stranger and more powerful than the well-known “no man is an island.” My commentary after the reading specifies that part, explains a little of what I believe it means, and talks about my teacherly tactics as I sought to enable a light-bulb moment in the waning moments of the class period.

I hope you enjoy the podcast. The time is drawing near for my students to do their own Donne podcasts, so I guess I better get my act together and get some more of my own out there.


4 thoughts on “A Donne A Day 19: Meditation 17

  1. Hi Gardner,
    I love Donne, and hearing him read well, and then hearing your commentary … what a pleasure!

    I’m beginning to “get” why hearing can sometimes be a different pleasure from reading.


  2. You know, I really wish that I had come across fellows like yourself during my college years. Now, that in and of itself is a bit silly, since nearly 18 years of intermittent college most likely still has not come to an end, but the sentiment in my first line is the same. Those of us who suffer from some form of ADD, and I would say that mine may be simply that I am trying to take the whole world in at one time, are in need of more professors who seek to raise the level of consciousness in classroom discussion.

    As a non-fiction writer, I churn out tons of useless material with scattered moments of magic mixed in. I came across this as I strolled through the Internet looking for material for a client on Donne’s Meditation 17. Though I consider myself well-read, especially in classics and those bits of literature which make up the standard banquet of high-school and collegiate freshman English courses, I had never cracked the pages on any of Donne’s works. Thus, your podcast on this was an eye-opening experience. I doubt my article on this will have much influence or merit, but at least by coming here, I am changed by what I have found. Perhaps, in ekeing out my meager existence as a syllable peddler, I am finding that the writing is less for consumption by the world and more for my consumption of the world.

    So, you have my thanks.

  3. Thanks for your podcast! I’m studying for my English mid term and Donne is a big part of it. This really helped me!

  4. Pingback: Gardner Writes » Blog Archive » No more pendulums

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