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Marprelate tracts

Marprelate tracts. In 1588–9, six books and a broadside, published under the pseudonym of Martin Marprelate, were a severe indictment of the episcopal hierarchy and associated press censorship. Their rollicking irreverence made them the most popular prose satires of the period, but predictably incensed Elizabeth, the Privy Council, and the establishment. Some suspects were racked in order to identify the author, printers, and distributors, and writers such as Lyly and Gabriel Harvey commissioned to produce counterblasts. Despite the execution of Penry and the death in prison of Udall, the most probable author is now regarded as the puritan extremist Job Throckmorton.

A. S. Hargreaves

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