Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Marprelate Tracts

A one day conference to be held at the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford upon Avon, 9th April 2011 (closing date for proposals: 17th Jan 2011)

With an opening lecture from Dr. Joseph L Black (University of Massachusetts,
Amherst), editor of 'The Martin Marprelate Tracts', Cambridge University Press

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
• 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 c. 20 --
25 minutes while proposals for shorter papers lasting c. 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 17th January 2011

Conference advisors: Professor Ralph Houlbrooke and Dr Helen Parish, Department
of History


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