I've just received an advance copy of Kate Narveson's new book, Bible Readers and Lay Writers in Early Modern England (Ashgate). I'm excited to get my hands on it. I reviewed it for the publisher and here is part of what I said:
'This is a really
tremendous piece of scholarship: subtle, humane, insightful and – when it needs
to be – biting. ...
I am fully
persuaded by the big assertion of the book, which I take to be that godly
reading and writing were a liberating force which cut across lines of gender
and clerical status. Perhaps I was already predisposed to agree, but the book
taught me a great deal that I didn’t know, and crystallised more that I half-knew
but had never quite pinned down.
quality of the writing is as good as I have come to expect from Professor
Narveson; the text fizzes with quotable quotes, and with felicitous conceptual
coinages like ‘household publication’. It is also mercifully free of technical
jargon. ... Sometimes, in my
darker moments, I wonder what literary scholarship is really for. This kind of thing is what.'
I've been banging on about Kate's work for some time, but I'm going to keep at it. She's not well known in the field of English Reformation studies, but she deserves to be; I hope this book will help to put her firmly on the map.