Imitatio Christi: The Poetics of Piety in Early Modern England

In Imitatio Christi: The Poetics of Piety in Early Modern England, Nandra Perry explores the relationship of the traditional devotional paradigm ofimitatio Christi to the theory and practice of literary imitation in early modern England. While imitation has long been recognised as a central feature of the period's pedagogy and poetics, the devotional practice of imitating Christ's life and Passion has been historically regarded as a minor element in English Protestant piety. Perry reconsiders the role of the imitatio Christi not only within English devotional culture but within the broader culture of literary imitation. She traces continuities and discontinuities between sacred and secular notions of proper imitation, showing how imitation worked in both contexts to address anxieties, widespread after the Protestant Reformation, about the reliability of fallen human language and the epistemological value of the body and the material world.