Week 9: Elizabeth, Witchcraft, Marprelate, etc.

 

For next week's discussion sections (March 24/5), if you haven't already finished the Brigden book, be sure to do so (full directives on this and 4th credit papers at https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/dgehring/web/hist361/week8.html ). Regarding the papers, for those of you writing them, make absolutely certain you consult the writing aids provided at the above link; if I see recurring silly errors in your writing I'll know that you didn't use our guides, and your grade will suffer accordingly.

In discussion next week I want to take a long view on the 45-year reign of Elizabeth. From the problems she inherited from her half-sister to those she left for James VI of Scotland, the difficulties the Queen faced were complex and far-reaching. As we have already noted, much of these issues emanated from the succession issue, and were further complicated by international religion and politics; moreover, these issues varied depending on what level of society we're talking about (the Archbishop of Canterbury had a different agenda than your ordinary godly parishioner). All this said, for next week read the following primary sources and situate them in the narrative context of Brigden and lecture.

On witchcraft and belief in magic, the Malleus Malificarum, introduction ( http://www.malleusmaleficarum.org/ ); the sources of witchcraft ( http://www.malleusmaleficarum.org/?p=18 ); on changing men into beasts ( http://www.malleusmaleficarum.org/?p=40 ); and how to destroy witchcraft ( http://www.malleusmaleficarum.org/?p=49 ). This material can get a little tedious so feel free to skim a bit. Also, read a few pages from the first major critical look at belief in witchcraft from Reginald Scot's The Discovery of Witchcraft; read Book 1, Chapters 1-4 (this is just 6 pages or so, here http://tinyurl.com/a3c4mn); if you'd rather print out your reading materials, you'll have better luck with these excerpts http://history.wisc.edu/sommerville/367/scot%20discovery.htm.
The Marprelate Tracts, editorial introduction and numbers 5 and 7 (Theses Martinianae and The Protestation) at http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/marprelate/ Excerpts from the anti-Marprelate libels (Thomas Nashe, et al.) at http://books.google.com/books?id=FAHTWDW4TJ8C&pg=PA142&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=0_0#PPA142,M1 (this should start you at p. 142; read to p. 151).

As you're reading this material, bear in mind the basic narrative of the later Reformation in England, but also consider how exploration of the New World (the subject of lecture next week) opened up an entirely unknown set of questions for early-moderns and how those questions fed into popular belief in monstrous beasts and elite theology for a new "city on the hill." The discovery of the Americas and later transatlantic and transpacific navigation brought Europeans into contact with new worlds and wonders previously thought only to exist in fantasy; these fantastic wonders were now political realities for both "low" and "high" social strata, and had to be addressed as such.