Anthony Munday and the Catholics, 1560–1633  book cover
1st Edition

Anthony Munday and the Catholics, 1560–1633

ISBN 9781138378193
Published August 23, 2018 by Routledge
296 Pages

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Book Description

In this new study, Donna B. Hamilton offers a major revisionist reading of the works of Anthony Munday, one of the most prolific authors of his time, who wrote and translated in many genres, including polemical religious and political tracts, poetry, chivalric romances, history of Britain, history of London, drama, and city entertainments. Long dismissed as a hack who wrote only for money, Munday is here restored to his rightful position as an historical figure at the centre of many important political and cultural events in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. In Anthony Munday and the Catholics, 1560-1633, Hamilton reinterprets Munday as a writer who began his career writing on behalf of the Catholic cause and subsequently negotiated for several decades the difficult terrain of an ever-changing Catholic-Protestant cultural, religious, and political landscape. She argues that throughout his life and writing career Munday retained his Catholic sensibility and occasionally wrote dangerously on behalf of Catholics. Thus he serves as an excellent case study through which present-day scholars can come to a fuller understanding of how a person living in this turbulent time in English history - eschewing open resistance, exile or martyrdom - managed a long and prolific writing career at the centre of court, theatre, and city activities but in ways that reveal his commitment to Catholic political and religious ideology. Individual chapters in this book cover Munday's early writing, 1577-80; his writing about the trial and execution of Jesuit Edmund Campion; his writing for the stage, 1590-1602; his politically inflected translations of chivalric romance; and his writings for and about the city of London, 1604-33. Hamilton revisits and revalues the narratives told by earlier scholars about hack writers, the anti-theatrical tracts, the role of the Earl of Oxford as patron, the political-religious interests of Munday's plays, the implications of Mu

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Munday's first works, 1577-80: facts, contexts and speculation; Munday and the English response to the Jesuit mission, 1581-88; The translation of Iberian chivalric romances, 1581-1619; Poet for the theater, 1590-1602; Writing for the city, 1602-33; Conclusion; Chronological bibliography of the works of Anthony Munday; Bibliographies; Index.

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Donna B. Hamilton is Professor of English at the University of Maryland, USA.


Donna Hamilton’s meticulously researched study, making full use of the latest historical work on post-Reformation Catholicism, transforms the familiar landmarks of Elizabethan literary history. Munday’s endlessly varied strategies of indirection in pushing beyond the official limits of political discourse will make us think again about the ideological stances of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. David Norbrook, Merton Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford Hamilton's significant and timely study of Munday rescues from oblivion a range of literary and polemical works that were widely known in their own day but until now have received little critical attention. Her insightful and provocative analysis offers a convincing new interpretation of Munday's writings, showing how under the guise of an orthodox Protestant, Munday discreetly promoted a dissident Catholic agenda in his writings while maintaining unswerving loyalty to the English crown. Arguing that in early modern England religious identities and political affiliations were complexly interwoven, Hamilton helps us to understand how writers could express religious dissent while remaining within the mainstream of the literary-political culture. Christopher Highley, Professor of English, The Ohio State University 'Donna Hamilton offers a major revisionist reading of the works of Anthony Munday, one of the most prolific authors of this time...' De Vere Society Newsletter '... Hamilton's detailed and compelling scrutiny... invaluable study...' TLS 'This is a very learned book about the life and work of a writer who managed to work both sides of the Catholic/Protestant conflict in a very bloody period in English history...Recommended.’ Choice 'This book performs two valuable tasks, which sometimes pull in different directions. On the one hand, it serves as a comprehensive guide to Munday's copious and under-researched output [...] On the other, it uses the figure of Munday to ask question