Agnes Bowker's Cat

Agnes Bowker's Cat : Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England

3.81 (32 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 unorthodox happenings-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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Product details

  • Paperback | 364 pages
  • 127 x 198.12 x 22.86mm | 272.15g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black and white illustrations
  • 0192825305
  • 9780192825308

Review quote

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 shows himself a master. * Professor Ivan Roots, Cromwelliana, 2000. * scholarly and entertaining history book * The Times, PLAY, March 31 2001 *
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About David Cressy

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

List of illustrations ; Introduction ; 1. Agnes Bowker's Cat: Childbirth, Seduction, Bestiality and Lies ; 2. Monstrous Births and Credible Reports: Portents, Texts and Testimonies ; 3. Mercy Gould and the Vicar of Cuckfield: Domestic and Clerical Pleading ; 4. Rose Arnold's Confession: Seduction, Deception and Distress in the Heart of England ; 5. The Essex Abortionist: Depravity, Sex and Violence ; 6. Another Midwife's Tale: Alcohol, Patriarchy and Childbirth in Early Modern London ; 7. Cross-Dressing in the Birth Room: Gender Trouble and Cultural Boundaries ; 8. Who Buried Mrs Horseman? Excommunication, Accommodation, and Silence ; 9. Mocking the Clergy: Wars of Words in Parish and Pulpit ; 10. The Atheists Sermon: Belief, Unbelief and Traditionalism in the Elizabethan North ; 11. Baptised Beasts and Other Travesties: Affronts to Rites of Passage ; 12. The Battle of the Altars: Turning the Tables and Breaking the Rails ; 13. The Portraiture of Prynne's Pictures: Performances on the Public Stage ; 14. The Downfall of Cheapside Cross: Vandalism, Ridicule and Iconoclasm ; 15. The Adamites Exposed: Naked Radicals in the English Revolution ; Conclusion ; Index
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Rating details

32 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 19% (6)
4 47% (15)
3 31% (10)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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