Katherine Rundell

Super-Infinite

SHORTLISTED 2022

John Donne lived myriad lives.

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, an MP, a priest, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral – and perhaps the greatest love poet in the history of the English language. He converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, was imprisoned for marrying a high-born 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 black surges of sadness, yet expressed in his verse electric joy and love.

From a standout scholar, a biography of John Donne: the poet of love, sex, and death. 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.

Katherine Rundell was born in 1987 and is currently a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Her bestselling books for children have been translated into more than thirty languages and have won multiple awards. Rundell is also the author of a book for adults, Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise. She has written for, among others, the London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books and The New York Times: mostly about books, though sometimes about night climbing, tightrope walking, and animals.

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