The Literary Culture of the Reformation: Grammar and Grace

Brian Cummings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book examines the place of literature in the Reformation, considering both how arguments about biblical meaning and literary interpretation influenced the new theology, and how developments in theology in turn influenced literary practices. Part One focuses on Northern Europe, reconsidering the relationship between Renaissance humanism (especially Erasmus) and religious ideas (especially Luther). Parts Two and Three examine Tudor and early Stuart England. Part Two describes the rise of vernacular theology and Protestant culture in relation to fundamental changes in the understanding of the English language. Part Three studies English religious poetry (including Donne, Herbert, and, in an Epilogue, Milton) in the wake of these changes. Bringing together genres and styles of writing that are normally kept apart (poems, sermons, treatises, commentaries), the author offers a re-evaluation of the literary production of this intensely verbal and controversial period.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages488
ISBN (Print)9780191674709, 9780198187356
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2011


  • Biblical meaning
  • Erasmus
  • Literary interpretation
  • Luther
  • Northern Europe
  • Protestant culture
  • Reformation literature
  • Renaissance humanism
  • Stuart England
  • Tudor England

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