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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Satire and polemic were sharpened weapons in the religious wars that followed the Reformation and its aftermath, wars further enabled by print. Puns, alliterative insults, dialogues, mini-dramas, jests, epigrams, monsters, parodies, even almanacs, were all summoned to assault those whom their authors viewed as enemies to religious truth. This chapter first explores satires from the years just before Henry’s break with Rome until the Restoration, noting a shift in the 1590s as satires both improved in literary quality and became more conservative socially. The 1599 ban on printed satires stimulated the growth of satire’s baby brother, epigram; the conservatism, often directed against Nonconformists, culminated in the lofty sneer of Thomas Bancroft. Monsters were a favourite anti-Catholic theme, encouraged by the Apocalypse. The chapter closes with one major author and one major cluster: Thomas More wittily vociferating against the Reformation and Martin Marprelate igniting a bonfire of scurrilous verbal ingenuity.

Keywords: satire, jests, religion, Catholic, Protestant, Puritan, parody, polemic, monsters, libel

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