Shooting for England: Configuring the Book and the Bow in Roger Ascham’s Toxophilus

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This essay argues that the subject matter and context of Roger Ascham’s Toxophilus are as important as its linguistic and stylistic qualities. Advocacy of archery formed the core of Ascham’s rhetorical strategy when he presented Toxophilus to Henry VIII in 1545; the treatise proposes a number of ways in which the arts of the bow relate to those of the book.

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Menno and Muhammad: Anabaptists and Mennonites Reconsider Islam, 1525–1657

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From the apocalyptic whip of God to a misunderstood religion deserving of serious analysis, the perception of Islam in Anabaptist and Mennonite circles reflected the changing political situation and intellectual landscape of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Beginning with the image of the Turk in the early Anabaptist tradition, this article turns to an in-depth analysis of Dutch Anabaptist opinion through the seventeenth century, focusing on representatives of both the conservative and liberal (Doopsgezind) wings.

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“Uncouth language to a Princes ears”: Archibald Armstrong, Court Jester, and Early Stuart Politics

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In March 1638 Archibald “Archy” Armstrong, jester, was unceremoniously ejected from the court of King Charles I, as a result of a pointed jest he made to Archbishop William Laud regarding the trouble then occurring in Scotland over the archbishop’s religious policies. !us ended Armstrong’s long career at court, as jester first to James I/VI and then to his son, Charles. Evidence suggests that Armstrong was not acting out of character; by all accounts, his notoriety was built upon his propensity for making remarks.

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The Coverture of Widowhood: Heterodox Female Publishers in Antwerp, 1530–1580

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This article explores the publishing activities of five widowed women in mid-sixteenth-century Antwerp. These widows were notable in that they produced scores of religiously heterodox texts in a period in which imperial and papal legislation was growing increasingly stringent with regard to such crimes. Despite this legal pressure, these women managed to conduct their illicit businesses for half a century without incurring any form of judicial censure.

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Puritan Conciliarism: Why Walter Travers Read Bullinger’s De Conciliis

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!is article examines the English puritan reception of Heinrich Bullinger’s De Conciliis in the early seventeenth century. In the process, it offers an alternative interpretation of the relationship between puritanism, conciliarism, and the continental reformed tradition. !e leading puritan thinker Walter Travers used Bullinger’s church history to serve multiple purposes. He stressed the role of the laity in church councils to further ecclesiastical reform, rather than turning to conciliarism as a basis for resistance.

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“This is no prophecy”: Robert Crowley, Piers Plowman, and Kett’s Rebellion

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In 1550, Robert Crowley published three editions of the late medieval poem The Vision of Piers Plowman. These editions have often been seen as violently appropriative, wrenching the poem into a role as Reformation prophecy and propaganda. However, Crowley’s preface and marginalia demonstrate a persistent anxiety about the prophetic matter of Langland’s work. Repeatedly, Crowley constrains the possibility of a reader’s viewing parts of the text as prophecy.

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