Chapter

Henry VIII's great matter

Alexandra da Costa

in Reforming Printing

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199653560
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742026 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199653560.003.0006

Series: Oxford English Monographs

Henry VIII's great matter

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This chapter argues that Syon's attention was drawn away from evangelical debate in the early 1530s by Henry VIII's increasingly forceful claim to ecclesiastical supremacy. It questions whether Bernard's criticism in The King's Reformation of the lack of active and concerted opposition to Henry is justified given the statutory restrictions on speech, the danger of being accused of treason, and the ultimate power of the king. It applies to Syon Greg Walker's idea that seemingly acquiescent writers ‘used their writings, and the various forms of license that their culture allowed them, to argue the conservative case’. Through this re-evaluation, it demonstrates that two Syon texts—Whitford's Pipe of Perfection and Fewterer's Glass of Christ's Passion—specifically challenge Henry's claims to supremacy: one opposes the policy directly and one holds a mirror to the king, reminding him of his earlier role as Defender of the Faith.

Keywords: divorce; ecclesiastical supremacy; pope; treason; license

Chapter.  13565 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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