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date: 20 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the prose of John Foxe's Actes and Monuments. Acts and Monuments made Foxe an instant literary celebrity despite the fact that he did not write much of his book. Contemporaries were well aware that the Acts and Monuments consisted to a large extent of extracts from other works, often reprinted verbatim. The study considers Foxe's own bids for authority as articulated in the prefaces he wrote for the Actes and Monuments. It looks at the complexities of early modern authorship in a case such as that of Foxe's book, so much of which was not written by him but which nevertheless reflects his religious viewpoints quite precisely. Indeed, religious polemical purposes drive the prefaces' assertions of a deferred and collective authority as well as Foxe's meticulous editorial labours. Throughout his book, the hand of a careful rhetorician is at work, a rhetorician who in early modern terms could claim the quite flexible label of ‘Author’.

Keywords: English prose, prose writing, early modern authorship, prose style

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