In this 1975 text, Dr Sanders approaches John Donne, beginnings with his arresting voice; individual and often puzzling. He asks of the live poetry and religious poetry alike, where is Donne speaking his own voice, when is he adopting a persona, what is the effect of his irony? And, he goes on, what affects us as true and fine when is Donne the prey of his own manner and self-irony; when is he conventionally amorous, cynical or pious? From this consideration Dr Sanders returns with a central body of poems which he considers great and unique. Many readers of Donne ask themselves uncomfortably whether their admiration is merely fashionable, or their dissatisfaction merely a reaction against fashion. Dr Sanders's calm examination proceeds from a disinterested wish to to find what is admirable, but not to lose sight of common-sense judgements exemplified in the past by Johnson.