John Lyly: Pap with a Hatchet

(965 words)

The most neglected item in the Lylian canon, Pap with an Hatchet, published late in 1589, is Lyly’s only known contribution to the “Martin Marprelate” debate. The controversy, turning on Presbyterian opposition to the ecclesiastical system of church government, was initiated by a series of highly scurrilous pamphlets, issued under the pseudonym “Martin Marprelate”, designed to undermine the established church and its representatives not through detailed theological discussion, but by derision. Enlisted by the bishops to answer Martin and his followers “after theyr owne vayne in writinge”, Lyly sought to counter the success of those responsible for the tracts by turning their own weapons against them. The result is a …

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Scragg, Leah. "Pap with a Hatchet". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 June 2003; last revised 16 March 2015.
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]