Religion and the book in early modern England
the making of Foxe's Book of martyrs
by Elizabeth Evenden
About the Book
"John Foxe's Acts and Monuments - popularly known as the 'Book of Martyrs' - is a milestone in the history of the English book. An essential history of the English Reformation and a seminal product of it, no English book before it had been as long or as lavishly illustrated. Examining the research behind the work and also its financing, printing and dissemination, Elizabeth Evenden and Thomas S. Freeman argue that, apart from Foxe's zeal and industry, the book was only made possible by extensive cooperation between its printer, John Day, and the Elizabethan government. Government patronage, rather than market forces, lay behind the book's success and ensured the triumph of a Protestant interpretation of the Reformation for centuries to come. Based on little-used manuscript sources, this book offers a unique insight not only into the 'Book of Martyrs' and the history of the English book, but into English history itself"--
"The word 'book' incorporates two related but separate concepts. The first is of the book as a text, which embodies the thoughts and attitudes of its author or authors. Thus we speak of the books of Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, or Karl Marx, when what we really mean are the ideas and concepts presented by these authors, rather than the physical books themselves. Yet a printed book is also a material object, as well as a compendium of ideas and beliefs. Moreover, it is a material object which is only created by means of specialised labour and equipment. The production of printed books in early modern Europe was the result of a complex, cumbersome and costly industrial process. To comprehend fully the contents and influence of an early modern 'book', in the first sense of the word, it is desirable, sometimes even necessary, to understand the physical process by which it was created"--
Includes bibliographical references.