Protestant Hagiography and Martyrology Criticism: John Foxe's Book Of Martyrs - Essay

I. Ross Bartlett (essay date 1995)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Bartlett, I. Ross. “John Foxe as Hagiographer: The Question Revisited.” Sixteenth Century Journal, 26, no. 4 (winter 1995): 771-89.

[In the following essay, Bartlett examines the motivations and purposes behind Foxe's writing of Acts and Monuments.]

By using modified forms of the analysis categories developed by hagiographic scholars we can demonstrate that John Foxe shares the twofold purpose of all authors in the genre, especially within the portions of Acts and Monuments that address the reign of Mary Tudor. First, he bore witness to the truth as he understood it; second, he sought to do some eternal spiritual good for the...

(The entire section is 9617 words.)

D. R. Woolf (essay date 1995)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Woolf, D. R. “The Rhetoric of Martyrdom: Generic Contradiction and Narrative Strategy in John Foxe's Acts and Monuments.” In The Rhetorics of Life-Writing in Early Modern Europe: Forms of Biography from Cassandra Fedele to Louis XIV, edited by Thomas F. Mayer and D. R. Woolf, pp. 243-82. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1995.

[In the following essay, Woolf discusses Foxe's narrative strategy and explores problems of structure in the author's history of Protestant martyrs.]

For oftentimes the will and pleasure of God is to beautifie and adorn his kingdom with the weake and simple instruments of this world: such as in the...

(The entire section is 14600 words.)

John R. Knott (essay date 1996)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Knott, John R. “John Foxe and the Joy of Suffering.” Sixteenth Century Journal 27, no. 3 (fall 1996): 721-34.

[In the following essay, Knott considers Foxe's focus on the “inward joy and peace of conscience” of the martyrs, noting that these sentiments appear to result from their awareness of the presence of God as well as their supporters on Earth.]

John Foxe rejected the early Christian and medieval emphasis on the exceptional nature of martyrs and on the disjunction between vulnerable body and transported soul, focusing instead on the human qualities of his Protestant martyrs and the communal experience of the persecuted faithful,...

(The entire section is 7413 words.)

Patrick Collinson (essay date 1997)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Collinson, Patrick. “Truth, Lies, and Fiction in Sixteenth-century Protestant Historiography.” In The Historical Imagination in Early Modern Britain: History, Rhetoric, and Fiction, 1500-1800, edited by Donald R. Kelley and David Harris Sacks, pp. 37-68. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

[In the following essay, Collinson analyzes the controversy surrounding Foxe's work, focusing on issues of veracity in the text.]


John Foxe (and notwithstanding some glancing references to John Bale and Miles Coverdale, Foxe will serve on this occasion as shorthand for “sixteenth-century historiography”) had a great deal to say on...

(The entire section is 13954 words.)

Evelyn B. Tribble (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Tribble, Evelyn B. “The Peopled Page: Polemic, Confutation, and Foxe's Book of Martyrs.” In The Iconic Page in Manuscript, Print, and Digital Culture, edited by George Bornstein and Theresa Tinkle, pp. 109-22. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1998.

[In the following essay, Tribble considers Foxe's work in light of its structure, claiming that in addition to what the text says, the accompanying illustrations, layout, and paper type were critical in helping Foxe convey his message to the reader.]

The critical role of the structure of the page in shaping reading experience has often been overlooked, in part because of the traditional...

(The entire section is 5195 words.)

Joerg O. Fichte (essay date 1999)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Fichte, Joerg O. “Foxe's Acts and Monuments: The Spirit's Triumph over the Flesh.” In The Body and the Soul in Medieval Literature, edited by Piero Boitani and Anna Torti, pp. 167-79. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1999.

[In the following essay, Fichte examines the willingness and ability of Protestant martyrs to allow the spirit and the mind to overcome the body, as told in Foxe's record.]

Once Foxe's account of the history of the true Church reached the stage of the Marian persecutions, it grew and swelled, being amplified in each successive edition of the work, as more and more documents came to light. The grisly total of the people executed within four...

(The entire section is 6201 words.)