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By Alison Shell

The Catholic contribution to English literary tradition has been generally overlooked or misunderstood. This e-book units out to rehabilitate a variety of Catholic resourceful writing, whereas exposing the position of anti-Catholicism as an ingenious stimulus to mainstream writers in Tudor and Stuart England. It discusses canonical figures similar to Sidney, Spenser, Webster and Middleton along many lesser-known writers. Alison Shell explores the Catholic rhetoric of loyalism and apostasy, and the stimulus given to the Catholic literary mind's eye by way of the persecution and exile such a lot of of those writers suffered.

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85) which the reader, in a con¯ation of the intellectual and the visual, is asked to `look upon and behold' (p. 108). There is nothing god-given about this velar conceptualisation of discovery, but ± given the extent to which the metaphors of the Bible dictated hermeneutical technique in the seventeenth century ± there might as well have been. Disclosure implies concealment, and metaphors of concealment have a long history in anti-Catholic polemic. The role of visual beauty in the Catholic church ± pictures, images, vestments and liturgy ± was held to have a concealing function; it was super®cially enticing but rotten beneath.

And a critic has an obligation to accept this canonicity: sometimes, indeed, to be alarmed by it. apocalyptic disclosures At a philological or conceptual level, an apocalypse is an uncovering or a disclosure. Davis J. '4 There was thought to be a particular obligation to discern eschatological signs, and it was not just Puritans who were urged to scrutinise the world for these, but Protestants in general. 5 Individual acts of ontological disclosure were seen as meritorious, proving the common man's ability to unravel scriptural The livid ¯ash 25 mysteries; yet the disclosures of the Book of Revelation were conventionally predetermined for the non-elite who nevertheless had access to sermons, commentaries and controversial literature.

Within drama, her presence is ubiquitous. She appeared on stage in many Tudor anti-Catholic interludes and in Dekker's The Whore of Babylon (1606),35 but she is also invoked by much of the language of decadence and feminine depravity typical of Italianate tragedy, and that invocation, sometimes only an innuendo, is enough to spark off a gunpowder-train of pre-existing association. Within a context of anti-Catholicism, an anti-Catholic frisson is potentially inherent in any mention of hypocrisy, cosmetics or deceit.

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