The Martin Marprelate Tracts
The Martin Marprelate tracts are the most famous pamphlets of the English Renaissance; to their contemporaries they were the most notorious. Printed in 1588 and 1589 on a secret press carted across the English countryside from one sympathetic household to another, the seven tracts attack the Church of England, particularly its Bishops (hence the pseudonym, Mar-prelate), and advocate a Presbyterian system of church government. Scandalously witty, racy, and irreverent, the Marprelate tracts are the finest prose satires of their era. Their colloquial style and playfully self-dramatizing manner influenced the fiction and theatre of the Elizabethan Golden Age. This is the first fully annotated edition of the tracts to appear in almost a century. A lightly modernized text makes Martin Marprelate's famous voice easily accessible, and a full introduction details the background, sources, production, authorship, and seventeenth-century afterlife of the tracts.