Tudor Polemical Protestant Dialogues

(2963 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Arthur Dent’s The Plaine Mans Path-way to Heauen (1601) was a seventeenth-century bestseller. Bunyan famously cited it as one of two works which “did beget within me some desire to religion” (Grace Abounding). The genre that Dent chose for his publication was the polemical dialogue. This was a genre that had a distinct literary pedigree, stretching back to the beginning of England’s Reformations, and one of relevance to the history of the development of a proto public sphere of debate in England.

The dialogue, brilliantly deployed by Plato, Cicero and Lucian, and exploited by theologians throughout the Middle Ages, was reinvigorated by continental Renaissance humanists and put into the vernacular. Following t…

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Bevan Zlatar, Antoinina . "Tudor Polemical Protestant Dialogues". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19349, accessed 30 September 2016.]