Memory and the English Reformation

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Alexandra Walsham, Bronwyn Wallace, Ceri Law, Brian Cummings
  • Cambridge: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , November
     425 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson forthcoming.


The dramatic religious revolutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries involved a battle over social memory. On one side, the Reformation repudiated key aspects of medieval commemorative culture; on the other, traditional religion claimed that Protestantism was a religion without memory. This volume shows how religious memory was sometimes attacked and extinguished, while at other times rehabilitated in a modified guise. It investigates how new modes of memorialisation were embodied in texts, material objects, images, physical buildings, rituals, and bodily gestures. Attentive to the roles played by denial, amnesia, and fabrication, it also considers the retrospective processes by which the English Reformation became identified as an historic event. Examining dissident as well as official versions of this story, this richly illustrated, interdisciplinary collection traces how memory of the religious revolution evolved in the two centuries following the Henrician schism, and how the Reformation embedded itself in the early modern cultural imagination.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Alexandra Walsham is professor of modern history at the University of Cambridge. She is the author of books including The Reformation of the Landscape (2011), which won the Wolfson History Prize in 2012, and Catholic Reformation in Protestant Britain (2014). A Fellow of the British Academy and of the Australian Academy of Humanities, she is also co-editor of the journal Past and Present.

Ceri Law has worked at Queen Mary University of London, the University of Cambridge and the University of Essex. She is the author of Contested Reformations in the University of Cambridge, c.1535–84 (2018), part of the Royal Historical Society's series New Studies in History.

Bronwyn Wallace was a research associate on the AHRC project, "Remembering the Reformation", at the Department of English and Related Literature, University of York. She is the author of a number of articles on early modern women's writing, Catholic devotion, and Queer affect theory.

Brian Cummings is an Anniversary Professor in the Department of English and Related Literature, University of York. A fellow of the British Academy, he is editor of The Book of Common Prayer (2013) and author of Mortal Thoughts (2013), which won the Dietz Prize at the Modern Language Association of America.



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