Bodleian Library, MS Eng. th. e. 102

The Dowden manuscript, or Bodleian Library, MS Eng. th. e.102, is another major collection, containing eight sermons by Donne. These make up the bulk of the volume, but a final item, another sermon not by Donne, closes the manuscript. This 'Dowden' manuscript ought not to be confused with another of the same name, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. poetry e. 99, which contains Donne's poetry. Both collections were similarly named after their one-time owner, Professor Dowden. 

The Dowden sermon manuscript is of great interest for the reception of Donne's manuscript sermons during the seventeenth century. A series of later emendations have been made throughout the manuscript, perhaps (but not certainly) by the same hand that transcribed the final item in the manuscript. Some evidence suggests that more than one corrector amended the manuscript, but on account of the brevity of these corrections it is difficult to be certain. Especially sermon 5 (pp. 99-121), but also others, were very extensively marked up, by means of deletions, additions, repunctuation, underlining, and boxing of text; in effect, almost a re-editing of Donne's text. These interventions are not presently transcribed in full. However, a separate transcription containing these features will be made available later. Preliminary investigation into the nature of these editorial interventions suggests that Donne's sermons may have been marked up for re-delivery from the pulpit, especially since materials particular to Donne's audience were expunged. Research into the later history of the manuscript is still in its early stages, and will be presented in full in the edition's Textual Companion, vol. XVI.