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Title: English Godly Art of Dying manuals, c. 1590-1625
Author: Mayhew, J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3622 0767
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2007
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Five examples of English Art of Dying literature from the period 1590-1625 are examined in this thesis. The rhetorical strategies of these texts are explored in detail, to demonstrate the means by which an activity, of death preparation, and a concept, of 'good' or 'godly' dying, are invented and made compelling to readers. An introductory chapter discusses the problems of classifying works in the Art of Dying genre, and the limitations of a strictly historical mode of analysis. Reasons are given for the decision to use rhetorical theory as a central analytical framework. The first chapter examines an exemplary deathbed narrative. Stubbes' portrayal of his dying wife in A Christal Glasse (1591) helps to establish a Protestant discipline of 'godly' dying, which combines elements of exemplary martyrdom with an older tradition of diabolic deathbed drama. The mirror image of Stubbes' title indicates that godly Art of Dying literature is intended to be used for self-reflection and imitation. In the central three chapters, the Art of Dying is considered as a godly regimen, created and conducted through printed manuals. Godly divines William Perkins, Nicholas Byfield and Samuel Crooke use various rhetorical methods to incite, regulate and suppress readers' emotions regarding the prospect of death. A final chapter returns to the use of personal examples in death preparation literature. Ward's Faith in Death (1622) collates the dying words of martyrs from Foxe's Acts and Monuments to invite readers' active contemplation of their own deaths. With 'lively' rhetoric, this text narrows the gap between celebrated and ordinary believers. It presents godly dying as an energetic, vocal, demonstrative act of testimony. In conclusion, the thesis finds that godly Art of Dying literature directs the way readers imagine death and so prompts active, emotional and behavioural responses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available