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Anti-Atheism in Early Modern England 1580-1720

The Atheist Answered and His Error Confuted


Kenneth Sheppard

Atheists generated widespread anxieties between the Reformation and the Enlightenment. In response to such anxieties a distinct genre of religious apologetics emerged in England between 1580 and 1720. By examining the form and the content of the confutation of atheism, Anti-Atheism in Early Modern England demonstrates the prevalence of patterned assumptions and arguments about who an atheist was and what an atheist was supposed to believe, outlines and analyzes the major arguments against atheists, and traces the important changes and challenges to this apologetic discourse in the early Enlightenment.


Annette Kern-Stähler, Beatrix Busse and Wietse de Boer

The essays collected in The Five Senses in Medieval and Early Modern England examine the interrelationships between sense perception and secular and Christian cultures in England from the medieval into the early modern periods. They address canonical texts and writers in the fields of poetry, drama, homiletics, martyrology and early scientific writing, and they espouse methods associated with the fields of corpus linguistics, disability studies, translation studies, art history and archaeology, as well as approaches derived from traditional literary studies.

Together, these papers constitute a major contribution to the growing field of sensorial research that will be of interest to historians of perception and cognition as well as to historians with more generalist interests in medieval and early modern England.

Contributors include: Dieter Bitterli, Beatrix Busse, Rory Critten, Javier Díaz-Vera, Tobias Gabel, Jens Martin Gurr, Katherine Hindley, Farah Karim-Cooper, Annette Kern-Stähler, Richard Newhauser, Sean Otto, Virginia Richter, Elizabeth Robertson, and Kathrin Scheuchzer


Line Cottegnies, John Thompson and Sandrine Parageau

In Women and Curiosity in Early Modern England and France, the rehabilitation of female curiosity between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries is thoroughly investigated for the first time, in a comparative perspective that confronts two epistemological and religious traditions.

In the context of the early modern blooming “culture of curiosity”, women’s desire for knowledge made them both curious subjects and curious objects, a double relation to curiosity that is meticulously inquired into by the authors in this volume. The social, literary, theological and philosophical dimensions of women’s persistent association with curiosity offer a rich contribution to cultural history.


Freyja Cox Jensen

Placing the reading of history in its cultural and educational context, and examining the processes by which ideas about ancient Rome circulated, this study provides the first assessment of the significance of Roman history, broadly conceived, in early modern England. The existing scholarship, preoccupied with republicanism in the decades before the Civil Wars, and focusing on the major drama of the period, has distorted our understanding of what ancient history really meant to early modern readers. This study articulates the connections between the history of education, reading and writing, and challenges the schools of historical thought which associate a particular classical source with one set of readings; here, for the first time, is an in-depth analysis of the role of Roman history in creating an English latinate culture which encompassed far wider debates and ideas than the purely political.


Meg Lota Brown

Donne and the Politics of Conscience in Early Modern England examines the responses of John Donne and his contemporaries to post-Reformation debate about authority and interpretation. It argues that the legal and epistemological principles, as well as the narrative practices, of casuistry provided an important resource for those caught in the welter of conflicting laws and religions.
The first two chapters explore the political, historical, and theological contexts of casuistry, locating Donne in debates about the limits of reason and the relativity of law and ethics. Chapter three addresses Donne's concern with problems of moral decision and action, of knowledge and definition, in five of his prose works. Chapter four examines ways in which his verse assimilates and wittily subverts casuists' responses to epistemological and linguistic uncertainty.
The study is particularly useful for literary critics, intellectual historians, and theologians.

Stefania Tutino

CONTRA TYRANNOS IN EARLY MODERN ENGLAND 1 STEFANIA TUTINO University of California at Santa Barbara A BSTRACT The fi rst edition of the Vindiciae contra Tyrannos was published in 1579. In 1690 a pamphlet entitled Political Aphorisms was printed: this work, constructed by mixing entire passages from the

Kirsten C. Uszkalo

interchangeable in terms of symptomatologies, have been contextualized culturally and historically, as a part of the legal system, village economics, and developing science. Although there has been a steady decline in looking to maleficium as a disease vector in early modern England—the end of the witch trials


Ulrike Tancke

Early modern women writers are typically studied as voices from the margin, who engage in a counter-discourse to patriarchy and whose identities prefigure postmodern notions of fragmented selfhood. Studying a variety of literary forms – autobiographical writings, diaries, mothers’ advice books, poetry and drama – this innovative book approaches early modern women’s strategies of identity formation from an alternative angle: their self-writings should be understood as attempts to establish a coherent, stable and convincing subjectivity in spite of the constraints they encountered. While the authors acknowledge contradiction and ambiguity, they consistently strive to compromise and achieve balance. Drawing on social and cultural history, feminist theory, psychoanalysis and the study of discourses, the close reading of the women’s texts and other, literary and non-literary sources reveals that the female writers seek to reconcile the affective, corporeal, social, economic and ideological dimensions of their identities and thereby question both the modern idea of the unified self and its postmodern, fragmented variant. The women’s identities as writers, mothers, spouses, household members and economic agents testify to their acceptance of contradictions, their adherence to patriarchal norms and simultaneous self-assertion. Their pragmatic stances suggest that their simultaneous confidence and anxiety should be taken seriously, as tentative, precarious, yet ultimately workable and convincing expressions of identity.

Matthew Dimmock

one state and another. 70 Both their past and their future were in the process reimagined as Christian in preparation for the end of days. Rather than protocolonialism in action, the baptism of “strangers” in early modern England became a focal point for the interplay of contested religious positions


Sara Warneke

While educational travel was extremely popular among early modern Englishmen, the practice attracted extensive public criticism. Rather than examining travel itself, this book explores the vivid public images of educational travellers, their development and popularity, and the fears and prejudices in English society that engendered them.
The first part of the book examines the medieval background of English travel abroad, the enthusiasm for educational travel among early modern Englishmen, and the progress of the public debate over the practice which essentially started with the publication of Ascham's The Scholemaster in 1570.
The second part of the book examines each of the seven major images of the educational traveller: the Italianated traveller; the atheistical traveller, the Catholic traveller, the morally corrupt traveller, the culturally corrupt traveller, and the foolish and lying travellers.