Marvelous Protestantism: Monstrous Births in Post-Reformation England

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Overview

In post-Reformation England, "monster" could mean both a horrible aberration and a divine embodiment or revelation. In Marvelous Protestantism, Julie Crawford examines accounts of monstrous births in popular pamphlets along with the strikingly graphic illustrations accompanying them, demonstrating how Protestant reformers used these accounts to guide their public through the spiritual confusion and social turmoil of the time.

Traditionally, accounts of monstrous births and other marvelous occurrences have been analyzed in relationship to the tabloid press or the rise of modern science. Crawford focuses instead on the ways in which broadsheets and pamphlets served a new religion desperately trying to establish clear guidelines for religious and moral behavior during a period of political uncertainty. Perceptively showing how monstrous births implicated women as reproductive forces, Crawford demonstrates how women were responsible for the reproduction of Protestantism itself, whether robust or grotesquely misconceived.

Through its examination of the nature of propaganda and early modern reading practices, and of the central role women played in Protestant reform, Marvelous Protestantism establishes a new approach to interpreting post-Reformation English culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Modern Language Review

Her book is an enjoyable read in terms of content and style, and her sensitivity to the particular times, places, and socio-political contexts in which these narratives were produced is admirable. Marvelous Protestantism should be on the shelves of those who wish to understand this period fully.

— Clark Lawlor

Renaissance Quarterly

An important contribution to the field, essential reading.

— Sarah Covington

Modern Language Review

Her book is an enjoyable read in terms of content and style, and her sensitivity to the particular times, places, and socio-political contexts in which these narratives were produced is admirable. Marvelous Protestantism should be on the shelves of those who wish to understand this period fully.

— Clark Lawlor

Sixteenth Century Journal

A significant contribution to our understanding of the process of reform in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England.

— Lawrence P. Buck

Studies in English Literature

She brings an impressive historical knowledge and an admirable rhetorical control to her compelling material.

— Patrick Cheney

Shakespeare Apocrypha

Crawford's knowledgeable and precise historical narrative of the figure of the monster offers a revelatory new perspective.

Renaissance Quarterly - Sarah Covington
An important contribution to the field, essential reading.
Studies in English Literature - Patrick Cheney
She brings an impressive historical knowledge and an admirable rhetorical control to her compelling material.
Sixteenth Century Journal - Lawrence P. Buck
A significant contribution to our understanding of the process of reform in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England.
Modern Language Review - Clark Lawlor
Her book is an enjoyable read in terms of content and style, and her sensitivity to the particular times, places, and socio-political contexts in which these narratives were produced is admirable. Marvelous Protestantism should be on the shelves of those who wish to understand this period fully.
Modern Language Review
Her book is an enjoyable read in terms of content and style, and her sensitivity to the particular times, places, and socio-political contexts in which these narratives were produced is admirable. Marvelous Protestantism should be on the shelves of those who wish to understand this period fully.

— Clark Lawlor

Shakespeare Apocrypha
Crawford's knowledgeable and precise historical narrative of the figure of the monster offers a revelatory new perspective.
Renaissance Quarterly
An important contribution to the field, essential reading.

— Sarah Covington

Studies in English Literature
She brings an impressive historical knowledge and an admirable rhetorical control to her compelling material.

— Patrick Cheney

Sixteenth-Century Journal
A significant contribution to our understanding of the process of reform in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England.

— Lawrence P. Buck

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801881121
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

Julie Crawford is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: "Strange News" and the Reformation of England 1
1 Protestant Reform and the Fashion Monster 27
2 "The mother of a monster, and not of an orderly birth": Women and the Signs of Disorder 62
3 Forms of Imperfect Union 88
4 Heedless Women, Headless Monsters, and the Wars of Religion 114
5 The ranters monster and the "Children of God" 146
Conclusion: The Signs of the Times 171
Notes 187
Bibliography 235
Index 261
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