Acts of Reading: Interpretation, Reading Practices, & the Idea of the Book in John Foxe's 'Actes & Monuments'

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1st Edition

University of Delaware Press, hardback,, 240 x 160 mm, 312pp, Illustrated.
In stock in Australia, for immediate despatch

Acts of Reading examines the ways in which John Foxe's Actes and Monuments shaped interpretation in the early modern period and addresses the impact of recent electronic editions of Foxe's text on current scholarship. These essays examine how the rhetorical, generic, and material features of Foxe's gargantuan tome shaped and continue to shape reading practices.

Foxe's Actes and Monuments exerted greater influence on 16th-century English religious culture than any book other than the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer. Yet, in the late 1990s, Foxe's text was described as one of the great unread books of English and American culture. Over the past decade, however, historical research and history of the book scholars, as well as two pivotal electronic editions of the text, have successfully remedied this situation, showing how Foxe's Book of Martyrs was constructed, edited, revised, and disseminated and beginning the process of recuperating Foxe for scholarly audiences, both historical and literary.

Foxe's Actes and Monuments has also played an increasingly important role in recent history of the book and material print culture studies. This history is significantly expanded by a consideration of Foxe's massive book, which contains not only multiple genres - from historical documents to poems - but also a complex welter of material elements: multiple fonts, extensive editorial and paratextual features including marginal glosses, woodcuts, and engravings, some with empty banderols inviting readers to write in their own text, two-colour printing, indices, and cross references.

This volume explores how a history of Foxe's book as a material artefact also offers a history of reading. Many of the essays collected here consider how Foxe's text and the media of its transmission produce and require a wide array of reading practices. Other essays focus on early modern rereadings and rewritings of the Book of Martyrs in order to explore how Foxe's contemporaries actually read and reappropriated his martyrology and the material elements of the book itself.

Finally, several essays show how Foxe's martyrology is itself engaged in a process of readerly training: they explore how the Actes and Monuments is itself a complicated account of what it is we do when we read and, in some ways, resists conventional accounts of reading, interpretation, and the nature of the book.

Thomas Anderson is an Assistant Professor of English at Mississippi State University. Ryan Netzley is an Assistant Professor of English at Southern Illinois University.


SKU 9780874130812
Barcode # 9780874130812
Brand AUP
Artist / Author Thomas P. ANDERSON & Ryan NETZLEY (editors)

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