The Oxford Handbook of John Donne presents scholars with the history of Donne studies and provides tools to orient scholarship in this field in the twenty-first century and beyond. Though profoundly historical in its orientation, the Handbook is not a summary of existing knowledge but a resource that reveals patterns of literary and historical attention and the new directions that these patterns enable or obstruct. Part I - Research resources in Donne Studies and why they matter - emphasizes the heuristic and practical orientation of the Handbook, examining prevailing assumptions and reviewing the specialized scholarly tools available. This section provides a brief evaluation and description of the scholarly strengths, shortcomings, and significance of each resource, focusing on a balanced evaluation of the opportunities and the hazards each offers. Part II - Donne's genres - begins with an introduction that explores the significance and differentiation of the numerous genres in which Donne wrote, including discussion of the problems posed by his overlapping and bending of genres. Essays trace the conventions and histories of the genres concered and study the ways in which Donne's works confirm how and why his 'fresh invention' illustrates his responses to the literary and non-literary contexts of their composition. Part III - Biographical and historical contexts - creates perspective on what is known about Donne's life; shows how his life and writings epitomized and affected important controversial issues of his day; and brings to bear on Donne studies some of the most stimulating and creative ideas developed in recent decades by historians of early modern England. Part IV - Problems of literary interpretation that have been traditionally and generally important in Donne Studies - introduces students and researchers to major critical debates affecting the reception of Donne from the 17th through to the 21st centuries.