Study Guide

Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10) Calling Card

By John Donne

Calling Card


"Wit" is hard to define. Jane Austen has it. Oscar Wilde has it. ESPN SportsCenter has it. And, John Donne has it in spades. We wouldn’t want to get in a verbal jousting match this guy: we’d get wrecked. It’s hard to define "wit," but it roughly translates as the ability to think on your feet, use complicated puns and wordplay, and to deliver bone-crushing comebacks that the other person doesn’t even understand until ten minutes after the fact. Then, you’re like, "Wait a minute, did he just insult me?!"

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