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Bad Queen Bess?Libels, Secret Histories, and the Politics of Publicity in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I$
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Peter Lake

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198753995

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198753995.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 November 2021

Going Papal

Going Papal

(p.257) 11 Going Papal
Bad Queen Bess?

Peter Lake

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses Nicholas Sander’s tract De origine, which told the ‘real story’ behind the English Reformation, from Henry VIII’s reign to the present. Abandoning the evil counsellor trope, the tract depicted both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I as tyrants and persecutors. Combining the tropes of the libellous secret histories with those of a heavily providentialized martyrology, it told a story of Catholic complaisance and weakness morphing gradually into spiritual recrudescence, resistance, and martyrdom. It went through two editions, the second of which contained a refutation of the official Elizabethan justification for intervening in the Netherlands. By defending the Spanish war with Elizabethan England as a just war, provoked by the enormities of the Elizabethan state, the tract tried to recount the glories of Catholic (spiritual and political) resistance, while preserving the entirely spiritual nature of the Catholic mission, and predicting the triumphant return of true religion to England.

Keywords:   tyranny, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, martyrdom, persecution, heresy, Dutch revolt, providence

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