Inventing Polemic: Religion, Print, and Literary Culture in Early Modern England

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Inventing Polemic examines the ways in which the new technology of print and Reformation polemic together dramatically transformed the literary culture of early modern England. Bringing together important work in two distinct areas, the history of the book and the history of religion, it gives an innovative account of the formation of literary culture in Tudor-Stuart England. Each of the central chapters of the book focuses on specific publishing events: Foxe's Actes and Monuments, the Marprelate pamphlets, the first two quartos of Hamlet, Donne's Pseudo-Martyr and The Anatomy of the World, and Milton's Areopagitica. Lander also considers the way in which subsequent understandings of literature and the literary were shaped by a conscious and conspicuous rejection of polemic. This study is an important reconsideration of some of the most influential texts of early modern England, focusing on their relation to the charged religious environment as it is reflected in and shaped by the products of the emergent book trade.