Inventing Polemic: Religion, Print, and Literary Culture in Early Modern England

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Overview

Inventing Polemic examines the ways in which the new technology of print and Reformation polemic together dramatically transformed the literary culture of early modern England. Bringing together recent important work in two distinct areas, the history of the book and the history of religion, it gives an innovative account of the formation of literary culture in Tudor-Stuart England. Each of the central chapters of the book focuses on specific publishing events: Foxe's Actes and Monuments, the Marprelate pamphlets, the first two quartos of Hamlet, Donne's Pseudo-Martyr and The Anatomy of the World, and Milton's Areopagitica. In a discussion of the Restoration publisher Jacob Tonson and the eighteenth-century literary entrepreneur Samuel Johnson, Lander also considers the way in which subsequent understandings of literature and the literary were shaped by a conscious and conspicuous rejection of polemic. This study is an important reconsideration of some of the most influential texts of early modern England, focusing on their relation to the charged religious environment as it is reflected in and shaped by the products of the emergent book trade.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the hardback: 'Lander's study is important for its sobering argument that 'the literary culture of early modern England was fractious, robust, and deeply polemical ...' SEL: Studies in English Literature

Review of the hardback: '... there is a real contribution to several debates here, and this study opens up an illuminating perspective on some key aspects of the period.' The Glass

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521838542
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 334
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Jesse M. Lander is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include Renaissance Drama, the Reformation, and Shakespeare Studies.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : the disorder of books 1
1 "Foxe's" books of martyrs : printing and popularizing the Actes and monuments 56
2 Martin Marprelate and the fugitive text 80
3 "Whole Hamlets" : Q1, Q2, and the work of distinction 110
4 Printing Donne : poetry and polemic in the early seventeenth century 145
5 Areopagitica and "the true warfaring Christian" 180
6 Institutionalizing polemic : the rise and fall of Chelsea College 201
Epilogue : polite learning 222
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