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Donne, John
1572-1631



English poet who studied law at Oxford. He sailed with Essex and Walther Raleigh to the Azores.

In 1615 he was appointed Dean of St. Paul's where he became famous for his preaching. His vigorous poetry, is distinguished by profundity of thought, and passion, and he is recognized as the greatest writer of metaphysical poetry.

His private meditations Devotions upon Emergent Occasions include the immortal lines 'No man is an island' and 'never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee'

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Fielding, Henry
1707-54




English novelist, born in Sommerset. He practiced law, wrote several plays and then turned to novel writing, the best known of which is 'Tom Jones', which was declared one of three perfect plots in all literature.

Fielding and Samuel Richardson laid the foundations of the modern novel.

Between the years 1729 and 1737 Fielding wrote 25 plays but he acclaimed critical notice with his novels 'The History of Tom Jones', 'A Foundling' and 'The history of the adventures of Joseph Andrews'.

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Gay, John
1685-1732




English poet and playwright, born in Barnstaple, friend of Pope and Swift. He wrote poems, pamphlets and a series of popular satirical fables.

His greatest success was 'The Beggar's Opera', which became - two hundred years later - the basis for Brecht's 'Three Penny Opera'.

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Godwin, Mary
1797-1851





It was apparent that the life of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was going to be out of step with the ordinary from the moment of her birth on August 30, 1797. She had both unorthodox parents and an orthodox family structure: her father, William Godwin, was a celebrated philosopher and historian who had briefly been a Calvinist minister.

With the possible exception of William Blake, Wollstonecraft was the most influential of the Enlightenment radicals.

Mary was writing profusely, and published Frankenstein in 1818. No one could have predicted the extent of the book's popularity: it would remain the most widely-read English novel for three decades.

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