Spanning the different phases of the English Reformation from William Tyndale's 1525 translation of the Bible to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, John King's magisterial anthology brings together a range of texts inaccessible in standard collections of early modern works. The readings demonstrate how Reformation ideas and concerns pervade well-known writings by Spenser, Shakespeare, Sidney, and Marlowe and help foreground such issues as the relationship between church and state, the status of women, and resistance to unjust authority.
Plays, dialogues, and satires in which clever laypersons outwit ignorant clerics counterbalance texts documenting the controversy over the permissibility of theatrical performance. Moving biographical and autobiographical narratives from John Foxe's Book of Martyrs and other sources document the experience of Protestants such as Anne Askew and Hugh Latimer, both burned at the stake, of recusants, Jesuit missionaries, and many others. In this splendid collection, the voices ring forth from a unique moment when the course of British history was altered by the fate and religious convictions of the five queens: Catherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I.
John N. King is Distinguished University Professor, and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and of Religious Studies, The Ohio State University. He is author of English Reformation Literature, Tudor Royal Iconography, Spenser's Poetry and the Reformation Tradition, and Milton and Religious Controversy.
"John King's wide-ranging and thoughtfully conceived anthology serves as a remarkable treasure trove of the textual richness of the English Reformation. From biblical translation, to doctrinal controversy, to the literary achievements that thrived in the highly charged theological environment, the selections demonstrate how religious thought powerfully animated the intellectual and imaginative life of the age."—David Scott Kastan, Columbia University
"A valuable resource. By modernizing and disseminating previously cloistered texts, this anthology enacts the popularizing ambition of many of the works it includes, and succeeds in bringing 'unduly neglected' voices before a new audience."—Times Literary Supplement
"Not only did religion permeate every aspect of daily life but it affords the only discourse in which we hear an extraordinary range of voices, from housewives to queens, from shoemakers to bishops. John King's excellent and timely collection of primary documents enables us once again to hear their voices."—Peter Stallybrass, University of Pennsylvania
"An important and useful complement to the study of the Reformation."—Literature and History