1st Edition

The Printer as Author in Early Modern England Book History
John Day and The Fabrication of a Protestant Memory Art

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after June 1, 2021
ISBN 9780367145880
June 1, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
224 Pages

USD $155.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

John Day (1552-84) was responsible for the look, style, and authorized content of a significant body of English Reformation printing. Unlike previous treatments of Day’s achievements, this book focuses on the aesthetic and mnemonically oriented cultural elements that informed his hybrid role as author, printer and "stationer" and which positioned him to create, distribute, and own the rights to the first English Protestant catechism, collection of psalms, home devotional manual, and John Foxe’s extremely influential Book of Martyrs. Among his many innovations, Day introduced into England clear italic font and high-quality pictures with his printing of Cunningham’s Cosmographical Glass (1559). He also undertook an early Protestant emblem book, Van der Noot’s Theatre (1568) in both Dutch and French editions that influenced, among others, Edmund Spenser. As Master of the Stationers’ Company he defended against book piracy and implemented the first widely enforced means for printers to stake claims to intellectual property and collect damages. Consequently, he amassed considerable profits, enabling him to risk larger, long-term projects. His religious, political, and aesthetic preferences—and (as this book is the first to show) his finely honed mnemotechnical sensibilities—set a trend and provided models for the printing of similar and related works during the period. Taken as whole Day's output, which included best-selling books for people of all ages and reading-abilities, established and stabilized a Protestant Memory Art which, although drawing on earlier Catholic literary genres and graphic models, presented Reformation ideals in a form that found unprecedented acceptance in Elizabethan England.

Table of Contents


PART 1 The Advancement of New Learning and the Business of Printing

Chapter 1. The deluxe design of Cunningham’s Cosmographical Glass (1559)

Chapter 2. The undertaking of Van der Noot’s Protestant emblem book (1568)

PART 2   The Fabrication of a Protestant Memory Art

Chapter 3. The ABC with Little Catechism (1553) and Metrical Psalms (1562)

Chapter 4. The grand enterprise, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs  (1563)

Chapter 5. The layout and design of The Book of Christian Prayers (1569, 1578)


View More



William E. Engel is the Nick B. Williams Professor of Literature at Sewanee: The University of the South. He received his Ph.D. in English at the University of California, Berkeley, and was a dissertation fellow at the Warburg Institute. Subsequently he was William R. Hearst Fellow at the Huntington Library and later Exxon Fellow for Advanced Study. His books include Mapping Mortality (1995), Death and Drama in Renaissance England (2002), Chiastic Designs in English Literature (2009), Early Modern Poetics (2012), and (with Rory Loughnane and Grant Williams) The Memory Arts in Renaissance England (2016).