Queen of Heaven
The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin in Early Modern English Writing
318 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268104108 | September 2018
eBook (PDF) | 9780268104115 | September 2018
Hardcover | 9780268104092 | September 2018
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268104122 | September 2018
The belief that the Virgin Mary was bodily assumed to be crowned as heaven’s Queen has been celebrated in the liturgy and literature of England since the fifth century. The upheaval of the Reformation brought radical changes in the beliefs surrounding the assumption and coronation, both of which were eliminated from state-approved liturgy.
Queen of Heaven examines canonical as well as obscure images of the Blessed Mother that present fresh evidence of the incompleteness of the English Reformation. Through an analysis of works by writers such as Edmund Spenser, Henry Constable, Sir John Harington, and the writers of the early modern rosary books, which were contraband during the Reformation, Grindlay finds that these images did not simply disappear during this time as lost “Catholic” symbols, but instead became sources of resistance and controversy, reflecting the anxieties triggered by the religious changes of the era.
Grindlay’s study of the Queen of Heaven affords an insight into England’s religious pluralism, revealing a porousness between medieval and early modern perspectives toward the Virgin and dispelling the notion that Catholic and Protestant attitudes on the subject were completely different. Grindlay reveals the extent to which the potent and treasured image of the Queen of Heaven was impossible to extinguish and remained of widespread cultural significance. Queen of Heaven will appeal to an academic audience, but its fresh, uncomplicated style will also engage intelligent, well-informed readers who have an interest in the Virgin Mary and in English Reformation history.
Lilla Grindlay is the head of the English department at Sutton Valence School in Kent, England.
"Despite being powerfully backed by a reigning monarch, the English Reformation also necessitated the dethronement of a reigning monarch. Dethroned monarchs never go quietly into the dark. Ever fainter echoes? Fading nostalgia? Secular disguise? A vanishing Virgin? Not so, argues Lilla Grindlay in this vigorous and rich book: Mary the Queen of Heaven stubbornly sticks around, taking many forms, some lurid, as she reclaims her throne." ~James Simpson, Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Professor of English, Harvard University
"The book makes an original contribution to the fields of English religious and literary studies, and gender studies. Grindlay offers an important corrective to the long-standing claim that the Blessed Virgin Mary disappears from English religious writing at the dawn of the Protestant Reformation. The book is very well written. Grindlay's care for her subject is evident in every sentence. Ultimately, her goal is to persuade the reader that their understanding of the post-Reformation/post-medieval status of the Virgin is incomplete. This reader was certainly persuaded. The book is really lovely to read. Grindlay has taken great care to make her work accessible, interesting, and important." ~Patricia Badir, author of The Maudlin Impression: English Literary Images of Mary Magdalene, 1550–1700