Caitlin Lowe Humanities and Social Science
Losing My Religion: Evidence of Religious Doubt and Anxiety in Black Plague Literature from 1553 to 1603
King Henry VIIIs split with the Catholic Church in 1534 brought about the social and political turmoil known as the English Reformation. This religiously tumultuous time period was made more challenging by a resurgence of the Black Death. In order to study the social, political, and emotional responses to the politically imposed mass religious conversion of England during the English Reformation, I plan to research Early Modern print books that involve the Bubonic Plague. I’m asking the questions, how can literature be used to express doubt in a society ruled by religion and what textual themes arise in order to psychologically and theologically rationalize mass catastrophe? To answer these questions I will read testimonials, dialogues, pamphlets, and prayer books on EEBO. My study of these texts will be a way into understanding the impact of the Bubonic Plague on this pivotal moment in Anglican religion.