- John Foxe at Home and Abroad
The essays collected in John Foxe at Home and Abroad were presented in July 2001 at the Fourth John Foxe Colloquium held in Boston, Lincolnshire, the [End Page 713] birthplace of the martyrologist. A festschrift honoring Professor Patrick Collinson for his contributions to the British Academy's John Foxe Project, this collection investigates and reconstructs the English and international contexts for Foxe's work. Magnus Williamson, for example, uncovers some early Boston connections for the propagation of reformed religion, noting that the clergy and singers who staffed Oxford's Cardinal College in the 1520s were reformers recruited from Boston's Lady Guild. Brett Usher studies a circle of Essex evangelicals, reassessing Foxe's scathing portrait of Edwardian Protestant and Marian persecutor Richard, First Lord Rich.
A number of essays connect Foxe to the Continental Protestant movement. As a member of an international "True Church," Foxe was aware of the suffering of his fellow Protestants like the French Huguenots and Dutch Calvinists. Guido Latré suggests that Foxe used the Dutch martyrologist Adrian van Haemstede as a source. The presence of Dutch workmen in the London printing house of John Day, as detailed in Elizabethan Evendon's essay, would have enabled Foxe to translate portions of van Haemstede's Dutch text. Although Foxe's Actes and Monuments was written in English and was never translated into other languages, Foxe's work eventually "enters into the mainstream of European Protestant consciousness" in the later editions of the martyrologies of van Haemstede and Jean Crespin (xiii). Ironically, as Paul Arblaster maintains, Actes and Monuments was better know in the Low Countries through the anti-Protestant polemic of his Catholic opponents like Louvainian Nicholas Harpsfield, former Archdeacon of Canterbury.
In a fascinating essay, Francis J. Bremer addresses the impact of Foxe's text in seventeenth-century New England. Contesting the traditional view, Bremer discovers few traces of Actes and Monuments in Massachusetts despite the fact that many of the colonists, some of whom emigrated from Boston, shared a Foxean sense of a godly destiny. An expensive book, Actes and Monuments was not widely owned, and references to Foxe's text are rare. Bremer concludes that Actes and Monuments may have been such an integral part of Puritan thought that it was invisibly absorbed into New England culture. It is in nineteenth-century America that Actes and Monuments became a staple for Sunday reading. In a discussion of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Margaret Dean argues that Foxe's text was appropriated by the antislavery movement. Several essays examine Foxe's rhetorical models. While Foxe's anti-Catholic polemic draws on earlier English models, Foxe looks abroad for a metaphor evoking ineffectual preaching, conscripting Dante as a witness to the medieval presence of Antichrist within the church.
John S. Wade's groundbreaking essay includes the original Latin text and the first translation of a little-known letter written by the exiled Foxe in 1559. Speaking for the German community, Foxe congratulates England on the ascendancy of the Protestant Elizabeth I. The letter, with its advice to the Queen to heed the counsel of men, reveals his "aspirations for the English church" (xvi). As the prefaces of the later editions of Actes and Monuments lament, the Elizabethan Church failed to fulfill the godly expectations Elizabeth's accession inspired. [End Page 714]
In a section devoted to methodology, Devorah Greenberg reflects on the phenomenon of "Foxe." This designation recognizes the collaborative nature of Actes and Monuments as the work of compilers, individual authors who penned its documents, letters and interrogations, as well as generations of editors responsible for the multiple incarnations and abridgements of the text. Another article describes the online Variorum Edition of Foxe's Actes and Monuments. Partially completed, this latest offering of the John Foxe Project collates the 1563, 1570, 1576, and 1583 editions and provides hundreds of useful links to biographical and topographical...