Agnes Bowkers Cat: Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England

Paperback | February 1, 2001

byDavid Cressy

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"What a world is this? It is marvelous, it is monstrous! I hear say there is a young woman, born in the town of Harborough, one Bowker, a butcher's daughter, which of late, God wot, is bought to bed of a cat, or have delivered a cat, or, if you will, is the mother of a cat! Oh God!" William Bullein - Dialogue Against the Fever Pestilence (1578) David Cressy examines how the orderly, Protestant, and hierarchical society of post-Reformation England coped with the cultural challenges posed by beliefs and events outside the social norm. Drawing on local texts and narratives he reveals how a series of troubling and unorthodoxhappenings-bestiality and monstrous births, seduction and abortion, nakedness and cross-dressing, excommunication and irregular burial, iconoclasm and vandalism-disturbed the margins, cut across the grain, and set the authorities on edge.

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"What a world is this? It is marvelous, it is monstrous! I hear say there is a young woman, born in the town of Harborough, one Bowker, a butcher's daughter, which of late, God wot, is bought to bed of a cat, or have delivered a cat, or, if you will, is the mother of a cat! Oh God!" William Bullein - Dialogue Against the Fever Pestilen...

David Cressy is Professor of History at Ohio State University, USA

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:364 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.79 inPublished:February 1, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0192825305

ISBN - 13:9780192825308

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Table of Contents

List of illustrationsIntroduction1. Agnes Bowker's Cat: Childbirth, Seduction, Bestiality and Lies2. Monstrous Births and Credible Reports: Portents, Texts and Testimonies3. Mercy Gould and the Vicar of Cuckfield: Domestic and Clerical Pleading4. Rose Arnold's Confession: Seduction, Deception and Distress in the Heart of England5. The Essex Abortionist: Depravity, Sex and Violence6. Another Midwife's Tale: Alcohol, Patriarchy and Childbirth in Early Modern London7. Cross-Dressing in the Birth Room: Gender Trouble and Cultural Boundaries8. Who Buried Mrs Horseman? Excommunication, Accommodation, and Silence9. Mocking the Clergy: Wars of Words in Parish and Pulpit10. The Atheists Sermon: Belief, Unbelief and Traditionalism in the Elizabethan North11. Baptised Beasts and Other Travesties: Affronts to Rites of Passage12. The Battle of the Altars: Turning the Tables and Breaking the Rails13. The Portraiture of Prynne's Pictures: Performances on the Public Stage14. The Downfall of Cheapside Cross: Vandalism, Ridicule and Iconoclasm15. The Adamites Exposed: Naked Radicals in the English RevolutionConclusionIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Outstanding as a piece of histrical reconstruction ... Cressys impressive blend of documentary grasp, empathy and imagination throws a bright light upon the nature of the discipline of the established church, of dissent and the strength of the popular sense of community ... Cressy showshimself a master.'Professor Ivan Roots, Cromwelliana, 2000.