What this collection is

This is a collection in progress. Its theme is "Works by and about those who suffered for their beliefs during and after the English Reformation". It is limited in its geographical scope to the British Isles, and the time frame is, generally, works written in the period covered (roughly up until the end of the 17th century). I am working on scholarship in the area during the 18th and 19th centuries, but am in general excluding modern studies. At present, the bulk of the material dates from the 17th century. If you have, or know of, anything that you think may fit, do please let me know.


How this collection started

 Years ago, I started researching into 16th and 17th century translations of Spanish literature into English. This led to a postgraduate dissertation and a few academic papers. Then my interest broadened out. One of the things that came out of the work on Spanish writers was that there was a significant number of Spanish Catholics whose work was published in English Protestant editions. That got me taking a wider perspective, and led to a monograph entitled Catholic Literature and the Rise of Anglicanism (Renaissance Monographs, 28; The Renaissance Institute, Sophia University. Tokyo, 2002). The monograph (along with some of my other articles) can be downloaded here.

The editor of the Renaissance Monographs is Father Peter Milward, a Jesuit. He and I are frequently in (friendly!) disagreement, but we share a deep interest in the literature of the post-Reformation period, and there is no denying the usefulness of his scholarship on the subject. In particular, his two volumes, Religious Controversies of the Elizabethan Age (University of Nebraska Press, 1977) and Religious Controversies of the Jacobean Age (University of Nebraska Press, 1978), gave me a rich vein of source material with which to work.

In my monograph, I stressed the similarities of the cultural base underlying both Protestant and Catholic literature and thought of the period, and pointed out the extent to which, in many fundamentals, they were in agreement, whereas - as can be seen from the very titles of Professor Milward's volumes - from his perspective what stands out mostly is the differences and disagreements. Obviously, as so often in life, the truth lies somewhere in between, and in my discussions with him we frequently battle over that middle ground, attempting to pick out its contours and define its borderlines.

And that (coupled with a passion for book collecting in general) is how this collection of books arose. Some of the figures featured suffered for reasons that were at least partly political (such as loyalty to a particular king), rather than purely religious, but on the whole I have tried to pick those whose tribulations were a direct result of an ideological stand that was at least partly religious. I have had, at times, to draw a line between those who were merely harried and those who could genuinely be said to have been persecuted. Some of the former gain a mention in the text, but in general are not listed in the index of contents.

At present, most of the material illustrated is material dating from the 17th century, but I hope to have the time and resources to add both earlier and later publications in the course of time. I hope the results will be of interest to others who share my enthusiasm for the subject, and anyone who wishes to contact me directly on matters relating to these books (whether in search of information or with corrections or additions to my entries or for any other related reason) is welcome to do so (click here to e-mail me).

     I hope that, over the years, this collection will swell to many times its present size, and (within the limits of my budget) I am always on the lookout for material to add to it. If you have (or know of) anything which you think I might be interested in, please let me know.