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Early Modern English Catholicism

Identity, Memory and Counter-Reformation

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Edited by James E. Kelly and Susan Royal

Early Modern English Catholicism: Identity, Memory and Counter-Reformation brings together leading scholars in the field to explore the interlocking relationship between the key themes of identity, memory and Counter-Reformation and to assess the way the three themes shaped English Catholicism in the early modern period. The collection takes a long-term view of the historical development of English Catholicism and encompasses the English Catholic diaspora to demonstrate the important advances that have been made in the study of English Catholicism c.1570–1800.

The interdisciplinary collection brings together scholars from history, literary, and art history backgrounds. Consisting of eleven essays and an afterword by the late John Bossy, the book underlines the significance of early modern English Catholicism as a contributor to national and European Counter-Reformation culture.

From Princes to Pages

The Literary Lives of Cardinal Wolsey, Tudor England’s ‘Other King’

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Gavin E. Schwartz-Leeper

In From Princes to Pages, Gavin Schwartz-Leeper provides a wide-ranging assessment of early modern literary characterizations of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII’s chief minister from 1515-1529. Called the ‘other king’, Wolsey became a contested symbol of the English Reformation through diverse literary depictions that demonstrate the transformative pressures of this complex period.

The author traces the development of these characterizations from the satires of John Skelton to Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Henry VIII, and offers new considerations of canonical and lesser-known texts by George Cavendish, John Foxe, and Raphael Holinshed. This study brings together multidisciplinary analyses to demonstrate how Wolsey’s literary lives reveal much about the contemporary shaping of this period, and argues for new ways to understand uses of the past in early modern England.



The Excommunication of Elizabeth I

Faith, Politics, and Resistance in Post-Reformation England, 1570-1603

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Aislinn Muller

In The Excommunication of Elizabeth I, Aislinn Muller examines the excommunication and deposition of Queen Elizabeth I of England by the Roman Catholic Church, and its political afterlife during her reign. Muller shows that Elizabeth’s excommunication was a crucial turning point for both Catholics and Protestants, one that irrevocably changed attitudes towards the queen, widened political participation and resistance, and posed a destabilising threat to her regime. The Excommunication of Elizabeth I demonstrates how this event exacerbated religious tensions in England’s foreign and domestic politics, and how Elizabeth’s conflict with the papacy shaped the development of anti-Catholicism in post-Reformation England.