The Marprelate Tracts: A one day conference to be held at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford upon Avon, 9 April 2011
(closing date for proposals: 17 Jan 2011)
With an opening lecture from Dr Joseph L Black (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), editor of The Martin Marprelate Tracts: A Modernized and Annotated Edition
Inspired by the recent publication of the first new edition of the Tracts for nearly a century, this day conference seeks to position the publication of the Tracts not only as a pivotal event in the history of English polemic and religious writing but also as something which redefined the terms in which religious politics in early modern England were debated publicly. Initially produced and circulated during 1588 and 1589, the Tracts were published on a secret press transported around the country under cover of darkness. Many of those involved in the production of the Tracts had close ties to the county of Warwickshire and its neighbours and defining their publication as a Midlands event is something the conference will seek to address. The historical background to the tracts will be considered, along with the wider pressures that faced those seeking further Protestant reform during this period and the way in which this gave rise to an environment in which the Tracts were conceived, written and produced. Despite the widespread dissemination of the Tracts and the dramatic response of the Elizabethan regime to their publication, many questions remain unanswered.
• Are we able to attribute authorship of the Tracts to any one person?
• How far did their publication reflect existing rivalries over religious reform?
• In what ways did they change the production and nature of pamphlets during both the Elizabethan period and into the seventeenth century?
• Who read the Tracts and how did they respond to them?
Brief proposals (c. 200 words) should be submitted for papers lasting 20 – 25 minutes while proposals for shorter papers lasting 10 minutes to be presented in round table discussion are also very welcome, particularly where they represent new perspectives on the Tracts or their wider influence.
Topics might include: the reception of the Tracts in towns and cities; the dissemination and production of pamphlets in Elizabethan England; stylistic and literary analysis of the Tracts or aspects of them; the Elizabethan reading public; the Presbyterians and the bishops; the influence of the Tracts on the pamphleteers of the 1640s.
All enquiries and/or proposals should be sent to Cathryn Enis, by Monday 17 January 2011.
Conference advisors: Professor Ralph Houlbrooke and Dr Helen Parish, Department of History
Found at Renaissance Lit