Books: John Donne, O. P.

Under the pavement of bomb-battered St. Paul's Cathedral this week, the skull & bones of ironic John Donne might have leaned backward with a lipless grin. After some 300 years, Ernest Hemingway's best-selling novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (whose title and magnificent motto are by John Donne), had made Preacher-Poet Donne a bestseller. U. S. customers could not buy a volume of Donne's works for love or money.

The bookstores had sold out completely. Consternated publishers, having dusted off and sold the 1,000-odd copies of Donne they usually keep on the top shelf,...

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