In Travesties and Transgressions, David Cressy examines how the orderly, Protestant, and hierarchical society of post-Reformation England coped with the cultural challenges posed by beliefs and events outside the social norm. He uses a series of linked stories and close readings of local texts and narratives to investigate unorthodox happenings such as bestiality and monstrous births, seduction and abortion, excommunication and irregular burial, nakedness and cross-dressing. Each story, and the reaction it generated, exposes the strains and stresses of its local time and circumstances. The reigns of Elizabeth, James, and Charles I were witness to endless religious disputes, tussles for power within the aristocracy, and arguments galore about the behaviour and beliefs of common people. Questions raised by 'unnatural' episodes were debated throughout society at local and national levels, and engaged the attention of the magistrates, the bishops, the crown, and the court. The resolution of such questions was not taken lightly in a world in which God and the devil still fought for people's souls.
`Though skeptical of absolute historical truth - his one nod toward postmodernism - David Cressy strongly advocates close reading of these many stories as an invaluable path into the mental world of early modern society, a world that historians have only recently begun to recover.' Sixteenth Century Journal XXXII/3 `As in the best microhistories, Cressy's book passes easily between specific stories and the rich yet concise contextualizations that effectiveley excavate broader cultural issues.' Sixteenth Century Journal XXXII/3 `a fine interdisciplinary study' Sixteenth Century Journal XXXII/3 `of interest to historians, literary scholars, and historical anthropologists' Sixteenth Century Journal XXXII/3 `a wonderful new book.' Elizabeth Lane Furdell, History, a Review of New Books, Spring 00. `Cressy s ... writing is exemplary, both erudite and fun to read. Travesties and Transgressions deserves the highest praise and placement on the bookshelves of anyone interested in Tudor-Stuart society.' Elizabeth Lane Furdell, History,a Review of New Books, Spring 00. `Cressy divides his gripping narrative into four acts, bringing out the highly theatrical quality of the whole story.' Ralph Houlbrooke, TLS `weird and wonderful stories' Nigel Jones, The Express 27/11/99
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 1st February 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.11 x 16.36 x 2.59
Weight (kg): 0.76