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Martyrdom and Literature in Early Modern England

Overview

Martyrdom and Literature in Early Modern England provides a comprehensive comparison of how Protestant and Catholic martyrs were represented during the Reformation, the most intense period of religious persecution in English history. Through its focus on martyrs, it argues that Catholic and Protestant texts are produced by dialogue, even competition, with texts across the religious divide, rather than simply as part of a stable and discrete doctrinal system. The first section of the book clearly traces the ...

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Overview

Martyrdom and Literature in Early Modern England provides a comprehensive comparison of how Protestant and Catholic martyrs were represented during the Reformation, the most intense period of religious persecution in English history. Through its focus on martyrs, it argues that Catholic and Protestant texts are produced by dialogue, even competition, with texts across the religious divide, rather than simply as part of a stable and discrete doctrinal system. The first section of the book clearly traces the development of competing discourses of martyrdom; the second section considers the deployment of these discourses through a range of Protestant and Catholic literary texts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Monta pays extended attention to many texts popular in their own day but now considered unliterary or insignificant. This study is an important contribution to scholarship on early modern literature, drama, and religious history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Monta's wide-ranging study is itself engaging and enlightening." Daniel Boice

"...Susannah Brietz Monta's book, like all the best recent work on the topic, has progressed past anatomizing and hysteria...her study level-headedly accepts that martyrs tended to behave in an exemplary manner, and sets out to ask how and why." Times Literary Supplement, Alison Shell

"This is a significant contribution to the study of the Protestant and Catholic martyrologies written between 1540 and 1640."
Retha M. Warnicke, Arizona State University, Religious Studies Review

"Monta's innovative, sensitive, and at times brilliant book is to be recommended to scholars and students of literature, religion, and history, for the way in which it treats the fate of truth-claiming texts in a truth-fragmented age, when martyrs abounded and redemption depended (to paraphrase Henry Garnet), on a faith not 'dreamed' but 'trew'" - Sarah Covington, Queens College, City University of New York

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521120234
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/24/2009
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Bè ´rice Longuenesse is Professor of Philosophy at New York University. She is author of Kant on the Human Standpoint (2005).
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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Non poena sed causa: Martyrdom and the Hermeneutics of Controversy: 1. Controverting consciences; 2. Too many brides: the interpretive community and ecclesiological controversy; 3. Material witnesses; Part II. Conflicting Testimonies in the English Literary Imagination; 4. En route to the New Jerusalem: martyrdom and religious allegory; 5. When the truth hurts: suffering and religious confidence in Robert Southwell and John Donne; 6. The polemics of conscience in the history play; 7. Martyrdom, nostalgia, and political engagement; Conclusion: admiration and fear.

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