In this book R. W. Scribner provides the first detailed analysis of the forms of propaganda - such as illustrated broadsheets, picture books, title pages, and book illustrations - which were aimed at the illiterate and semi-literate during the Reformation, and reproduces many of the vast corpus of prints which still survive in scattered locations in Germany. Dr Scribner advances new and original interpretations of these illustrations,
revealing how visual propaganda exploited popular belief and the coarser aspects of popular culture, while at the same time being a product of them. This, he suggests, explains why the Reformation appealed to the broad masses of sixteenth-century people, even though the propaganda was unable to educate them
in the more complex theological aspects of the Reformation message. As well as raising important questions about the Reformation as a religious phenomenon, the book is a contribution to the understanding of early modern popular culture, and the nature of propaganda in a pre-industrial society; it is also a detailed historical study of the sixteenth-century woodcut. In develolping an interdisciplinary analysis combining the methods of iconography, semiology, sociology,
and folklore, Dr Scribner presents a fruitful new approach to the study of popular mentalities. Hailed as a pioneering study of great importance on its original publication in 1981, For the Sake of Simple Folk is now available in paperback for the first time, with a new Introduction and additional
chapter. 'The reproduction of such a formidable body of "documentation" in the text is a major achievement . . . important and pioneering study', Journal of Ecclesiastical History
`the republication of this important study, by means of photomechanical reproduction, is welcome. Moreover, Scribner has updated the new edition with an introduction and a postscript which includes significant information for anyone using the text'
Sixteenth Century Journal
`The importance of Scribner's study strikes the reader on the very first page ... Scribner's book is important beyond the narrow confines of religious propaganda. The book will be of interest to literary and art historians, religious scholars and cultural materialists.'
Jeffrey Kahan, Renaissance Quarterly, Spring '97