By Alison Shell
The Catholic contribution to English literary tradition has been broadly overlooked or misunderstood. This ebook units out to rehabilitate a variety of Catholic inventive writing, whereas exposing the position of anti-Catholicism as an creative stimulus to mainstream writers in Tudor and Stuart England. It discusses canonical figures reminiscent of Sidney, Spenser, Webster and Middleton along many lesser-known writers. Alison Shell explores the Catholic rhetoric of loyalism and apostasy, and the stimulus given to the Catholic literary mind's eye through the persecution and exile such a lot of of those writers suffered.
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Extra resources for Catholicism, Controversy and the English Literary Imagination, 1558-1660
The description of the family group as a whole and of Hypocrisie in particular is a paradigm of anti-Catholic iconographical discourse, and demonstrates how such a discourse can be constructed out of pre-existing topoi. 43 Within this context, however ± and context is all-important in establishing the presence of anti-Catholicism ± it echoes the wood worshipped by Idolatros with its alluring glitter and collapsible rottenness. 44 One image of deceit is tied to another till all are given focus in the description of Hypocrisie himself, enclosed in the hieratic gold and jewelled armour of an idol, with an idol's shield of horrors;45 this in turn has the dual signi®cance of tyranny, and of a splendid skin concealing a loathsome inside.
The role of visual beauty in the Catholic church ± pictures, images, vestments and liturgy ± was held to have a concealing function; it was super®cially enticing but rotten beneath. Radford Mavericke's Saint Peters Chaine (1596) is typical in visualising idolaters as wearing the `cloak of hipocrisie' (p. 65). They take their cue from proverbial visualisations of hypocrisy, many of which depend on the idea of an alluring, a pure or a glorious outside concealing an inside that is corrupt: the most famous Biblical example being the whited sepulchre, `beautiful outward, but .
If The Wisdom of 38 Catholics and the canon Solomon sets Middleton's plays in context, it must itself be set in the wider context of contemporary verse. Though idolatry did not inspire poetic genres, it made a regular intrusion into genres already existing, and often dictated subjectmatter that offered scope for re¯ection on the image. 50 Tourneur's poem The Transformed Metamorphosis shows the same preoccupation in its title, but unlike the story of Pygmalion's statue, change here is for the worse.