Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne

Alpine Books


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Winner of the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
Winner of the 2022 Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize
Shortlisted for the 2023 Plutarch Award

Wall Street Journal Top 10 Best Book of 2022
New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by The New YorkerTimes Literary Supplement, and Literary Hub

From the standout scholar Katherine Rundell, Super-Infinite presents a sparkling and very modern biography of John Donne: the poet of love, sex, and death.

Sometime religious outsider and social disaster, sometime celebrity preacher and establishment darling, John Donne was incapable of being just one thing.

He was a scholar of law, a sea adventurer, a priest, a member of Parliament—and perhaps the greatest love poet in the history of the English language. He converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, was imprisoned for marrying a sixteen-year-old girl without her father’s consent, struggled to feed a family of ten children, and was often ill and in pain. He was a man who suffered from surges of misery, yet expressed in his verse many breathtaking impressions of electric joy and love.

In Super-Infinite, Katherine Rundell embarks on a fleet-footed act of evangelism, showing us the many sides of Donne’s extraordinary life, his obsessions, his blazing words, and his tempestuous Elizabethan times—unveiling Donne as the most remarkable mind and as a lesson in living.

AWARDS• 2023 Plutarch Awards Nominee long-listed• 2022 The Guardian (UK) Best Books of the Year long-listed• 2022 Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year long-listed• 2022 Wall Street Journal Best Books of the Year long-listed• 2022 Minneapolis Star Tribune Holiday Book Recommendations long-listed• 2022 New Yorker Best Books of the Year long-listed• 2022 Chicago Tribune Best Books of the Year long-listed• 2022 New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year long-listed