Two Early Modern Marriage Sermons
Henry Smith’s A Preparative to Marriage (1591) and William Whately’s A Bride-Bush (1623)
This critical edition of two early modern marriage sermons provides an important resource for students and scholars of early modern literature and history, allowing them to experience firsthand the competing and historically layered ideas about marriage that circulated in the wake of the English Reformation. Read in their entirety these sermons, by turns engaging and infuriating, resist easy characterization. The edition includes an extended critical introduction to the sermons. In the introduction Robert Matz offers evidence for a view of post-Reformation marriage advice that neither overstates nor minimizes historical change. He shows that if some earlier scholars exaggerated the break between Protestant and earlier ideas of marriage, so the criticism of this view has sometimes exaggerated the continuities-especially with regard to writing about marriage. The introduction also provides biblical, theological, political and discursive contexts for the sermons, including the place of the sermon in English early modern print culture, biographies of each of the sermon's authors, and an account of the textual differences among the editions of each sermon. The texts follow the spelling and punctuation of the originals. Annotations are provided to identify references, gloss words with unfamiliar or altered meanings, clarify difficult syntax, and mark variations between editions.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; A Preparative to Marriage (1591); A Bride Bush (1623); Index.
Robert Matz is Professor of English at George Mason University, USA.