Exchanging the Old with the New: Medieval Influences on Early Modern Representations in The Examinations of Anne Askew

  • Author / Creator
    Dear, Natalie E.
  • In The Examinations, Anne Askew represents herself as a reform martyr. Her editors John Bale and John Foxe further this representation in their comments on her responses, and situate her in the mulier fortis literary tradition. Bale’s commentary results in his self-representation as a historian of the reformed church. I argue that these representations are shaped by Askew’s and her editors’ employment of conventions associated with medieval hagiographies and histories. Medieval saints’ lives celebrate the heroes of the traditional religion. Why, and how, did Askew and her editors appropriate conventions of saints’ lives when, as reformers, they were against saints’ cults?

    This dissertation participates in the growing scholarship on Askew by being the first monograph dedicated to her text. I explore the ways in which Askew and her editors refashion the medieval representation of the martyr to present her as a reform martyr and mulier fortis. I also examine Bale’s self-representation as a sixteenth-century ecclesiastical historian.
    Chapter One investigates Askew’s reference to St Stephen with whom she aligns her self-representation as a martyr. Chapter Two analyzes Bale’s representation of Askew as a mulier fortis and his own representation as a historian. The chapter includes a brief survey of the mulier fortis tradition in order to situate Bale’s representation of Askew. Chapter Three examines Bale’s fashioning Askew with Marian features. Reformers recognized the Virgin Mary, a biblical example of a mulier fortis, as Christ’s mother, but negated all features of Marian devotion that conveyed saints’ cults. Chapter Four examines John Foxe’s inclusion of The Examinations in his Acts and Monuments and the possible medieval influences on his text. I argue that his treatment of Askew resembles John Capgrave’s representation of St Katherine.
    This dissertation underscores the relationship between history and textual representation: representations from the past are refashioned to produce representations in the present. I contribute to the current studies on periodization and to the discussions on the blurred border between the medieval and early modern literary periods. The medieval representation of the Christian martyr provides a framework for the construction of the early modern reformist martyr.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • English
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Reimer, Stephen (English and Film Studies)
    • Bowers, Rick (English and Film Studies)
    • Gay, David (English and Film Studies)
    • Parkinson, David (University of Saskatchewan, Department of English)
    • Brown, Sylvia (English and Film Studies)
    • Caulfield, Catherine (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)