The ende of all sorowes: rhetorics and theologies of martyrdom in sixteenth-century EnglandShow full item record
|The ende of all sorowes: rhetorics and theologies of martyrdom in sixteenth-century England
|Saunders, Jacquelyn Patrice
|Doctor of Philosophy
|This dissertation examines Catholic and Protestant literary contributions to the rhetoric of martyrdom in sixteenth century England. While history and theology have long recognized the significance of early modern martyrs, this study distinguishes the rhetorical implications of work composed in the midst of persecution and in anticipation of martyrdom from martyrology. Writing is constitutive of martyrdom in that it helps prepare the writer to act on what he or she professes to believe, and thus, to become a martyr. Working from primary texts composed in response to persecution and in preparation for martyrdom, my study is an analysis of the public and private rhetoric inherent in the discourse of martyrs and brings together the polemics of four writers: Thomas More's A Dialogue of Comfort (1534-35), Anne Askew's Examinations (1546), Thomas Cranmer's Recantations (1556), and Robert Southwell's An Epistle of Comfort (1587). The case studies presented here are significant witnesses for both their theological and cultural positions in Tudor England. All wrote from highly informed theological positions and with awareness of wider communities that would receive their texts and further influence English religious life. While these case studies do not stand for every theological tension of sixteenth-century England, they represent major discussions and transitions in Christian theology during the period. These voices are important because of what they reveal to modern readers, for sixteenth-century religious prose written in the context of persecution discusses secular and religious upheaval, administration of justice, essential Christian doctrine, and the shift toward the vernacular as a vehicle to teach religion to the literate laity. The rhetoric of martyrdom across the Tudor reigns reflects the challenges to both the religious and secular status quo throughout the sixteenth century.
|Spiller, Elizabeth A.
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- Doctoral Dissertations