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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on William Baldwin and his works. The personality of Baldwin has been rendered less accessible by his habit of writing in the first person, since many of his narrators stand at several removes from himself. The pompous pseudo-scholar Gregory Streamer in his ‘novel’ Beware the Cat (1553); the Roman talking statue Pasquillus (P. Esquillus) in his scabrous anti-Catholic satire Wonderful News of the Death of Paul III (c.1552); the bumbling editor of The Mirror for Magistrates (1559), ‘William Baldwin’, who struggles to organize his collection of historical poems in the face of censorship, unreliable contributors, and onsets of somnolence; Mirror's parade of garrulous ghosts; none throws much light on the printer-writer who presents their narratives to the public. Moreover, in all his works the narrator's voice gets lost in a cacophony of rival voices, clamouring for the reader's attention. Furthermore, many of his first-person narratives pose as translations. It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that the canon of Baldwin's works has yet to be established.

Keywords: first person, narrators, Beware the Cat, Paul III, The Mirror for Magistrates

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