Scholars have for decades compared many aspects of the poetry of two contemporaneous Baroque poets, John Donne (1572–1631) and Francisco de Quevedo (1580–1640). But, oddly, no one has compared their almost simultaneous adaptations of the Old Testament Book of Lamentations. Why would both poets independently, but writing at almost exactly the same time, choose this biblical text for poetic adaptation? What was it about the Book of Lamentations that resonated so poignantly with their particular historical moment? This study focuses not on questions of political or personal crisis, nor on affirmations of religious orthodoxy. Instead, it concentrates on a shared spiritual formation involving Jesuit meditational techniques. Jesuit meditational practice relied on sensorial imagery, and this type of acute sensorial experience is found in both Donne's and Quevedo's reworkings of Lamentations.

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