Marprelate controversy

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Marprelate controversy

(mär`prĕl'ĭt), a 16th-century English religious argument. Martin Marprelate was the pseudonym under which appeared several Puritan pamphlets (1588–89) satirizing the authoritarianism of the Church of England under Archbishop John Whitgift. The church replied in kind, but silenced the pamphleteer only after a reaction against him by the more conservative Puritans and after the use of police powers by Whitgift. A flood of both Martinist and anti-Martinist literature followed, to which Thomas Nashe, John Lyly, and Richard Harvey are supposed to have contributed. The true identity of Martin Marprelate has never been determined, but John PenryPenry, John,
1559–93, British Puritan author, an instigator of the Marprelate controversy, b. Wales, grad. Cambridge and Oxford. While at college he became an ardent Puritan.
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 may have been the chief author.


See The Marprelate Tracts (ed. by W. Pierce, 1911, repr. 1967); E. Arber, An Introductory Sketch to the Martin Marprelate Controversy, 1558–1590 (1895, repr. 1967); D. J. McGinn, John Penry and the Marprelate Controversy (1966).

References in periodicals archive ?
This argument is pursued chronologically through individual case studies: two editions of Foxe's Acts and Monuments (1576, 1589), the Marprelate tracts (1588-89), the early quartos of Hamlet (1603-04), Donne's Pseudo-Martyr and An Anatomy of the World (1610-11), and Milton's Areopagitica (1644).
Here, as elsewhere in his discussion, Lander reinforces the conclusions of Joad Raymond in Pamphlets and Pamphleteering in Early Modern Britain (Cambridge, 2003), a study surprisingly absent from his bibliography, arguing that the Marprelate tracts opened a popular front in theological controversy from which there would be no turning back.
From an examination of the Martin Marprelate tracts -- or rather, the anti-Marprelate tracts they inspired -- Poole describes the way in which the already ribald prose of the Martin authors was heightened and subverted by opponents, who "atrack[ed] the puritan 'Hipocrites"' by mocking them on their own rhetorical and stylistic turf, and by "'imitating.
While historians should read Poole for her contribution to the history of representations and for providing a more variegated picture of the puritan, one must nevertheless question her own lapses into classificatory vagueness: can Familists really be considered "puritan," for example, in the same way that the authors of the Martin Marprelate tracts were "puritan"?
North argues that the Marprelate tracts are distinct "because they authored anonymity with such flair, humor, and self-consciousness" (158), but surely this is a description of the effect of pseudonomity, the taking of a distinctive name for satiric purposes.
Clegg's exoneration of the censors is perhaps most evident in her chapters on Catholic propaganda and on the Marprelate tracts.
Quoting extensively from Nashe's, Lyly's, and Greene's anti-Martin Marprelate tracts, Kristin Poole shows that the view of the Puritan they promoted was not one of "the lean, mean Malvolio that post-Restoration readers and audiences .
Following the Protestant martyrologists Foxe and Bale,(60) The Martin Marprelate tracts accused not only bishops but their defenders of sophistry, writing in one tract that an anti-Marprelate author has given invalid "reasons for the defence of [his] hierarchie" and has ignored crucial points of Martin's antibishop argument in an attempt to rebut it:
John Dover Wilson also investigates the possibility that Henry V's Fluellen was based on Roger Williams, suspected author of the Marprelate tracts, in Martin Marprelate and Shakespeare's Fluellen (1912; reprint, Folcroft, Pennsylvania: Folcroft Press, 1969).
While sixteenth-century Puritan writings such as the Marprelate tracts and John Field and Thomas Wilcox's 1572 An Admonition to the Parliament cautiously avoided direct criticism of the monarch, arguments regarding the legitimacy of rebellion were already brewing in the 1580s and 1590s, as is evidenced by the great energy devoted to refuting such arguments.