Book, body, and bread: reading Aemilia Lanyer's Eucharist.
Discussing Lanyer in relation to a specific religious category is of course a difficult task, for her work demonstrates a diverse spectrum of religious thought, including the influence of Catholicism and Judaism. Lanyer also carefully mediates between the prevailing Protestant tides of the Stuart court and residual Catholic pressures, especially considering that her opening poem is addressed to Queen Anne, a rumored Catholic. In associating Lanyer with the Protestant Eucharist, my intent is not to categorize her as a "Protestant" poet, suggest a polemical force behind her book, or collapse all of her religious imagery into Protestantism, moves that would misrepresent the complex religious negotiations that characterize both Lanyer's poetry and early modern England. As scholarship on Lanyer attests, the poet relies on a diverse lexicon of religious representation, including strong ties to Catholicism. (3) In linking her work to the Protestant Eucharist, I aim not to erase religious complexity but rather to illuminate the centrality of this particular version of the ritual to the way Lanyer conceptualizes the Passion narrative and her own poetry Seeing Salve Deus through the lens of the Protestant Eucharist--and this is precisely, I argue, what Lanyer asks of her readers--exposes new valences to the themes so readily associated with her work, including her egalitarian vision, her pursuit of female patronage, and the textuality of Christ. While these themes contribute to Lanyer's status as one of the most subversive female writers of the seventeenth century, they also demonstrate how central the Protestant Eucharist was to Lanyer's protofeminist arguments.
The precise relationship between Lanyer's religion and Lanyer's feminism has characterized a sizeable portion of scholarship that explores how the faith, structure, and practice of religion mediate Lanyer's representation of gender, and vice versa. (4) Understandably, her work stands as a monument to early modern women who sought to expose the inequities of gender: she defends female writers and readers, offers a scathing treatment of biblical men, and reimagines the roles of women within the very narratives that had traditionally excluded them. But as Barbara Lewalski puts its, Lanyer was also "a woman of her time" and thus wrote within the cultural and religious constructs of her day. (5) While Lewalski's claim continues to garner critique, it productively highlights the centrality of religious tradition to a text most striking for its subversive characteristics. Salve Deus exists as a complicated, and not always seamless, negotiation between the boundaries Lanyer reifies and those she transgresses. As Marie Loughlin has argued, "Lanyer sets herself the far more difficult task of presenting as equally and demandingly urgent the spiritual as well as material desires of herself, her dedicatees and her readers." (6) I likewise emphasize the necessary mutuality of these tensions: religion is not only relevant but also central to Lanyer's arguments about women, patronage, and reading, for it is through the constructs of religion that she asserts her authority as a writer and as a woman. By articulating a precisely Protestant theology of the Eucharist and then embodying it through her characterization of Christ-as-book, Lanyer carves out space for women to live and write, not outside but firmly within the religious constructs of her day. Her Eucharistic theology, as orthodox as it may have been in early-seventeenth-century Protestant England, becomes the primary means by which she articulates a subversive feminine identity. (7)
Salve Deus opens with 11 introductory epistles that comprise one-third of the book and through which Lanyer solicits patronage exclusively from women, including Queen Anne, the princess Elizabeth, and Mary Sidney. As Erin A. McCarthy argues, the dedications not only embody Lanyer's central aim for the book but also offer an economically promising text for her publisher, Richard Bonion. (8) As such, these poems arguably become the most consequential part of her book, for through them she seeks to resituate herself among England's literary and social elite. Lanyer's husband, Alphonso, whom she married several months into a pregnancy that resulted from an affair with Lord Chamberlain Henry Cary, proved incapable of guaranteeing Lanyer's continued presence in the royal community. Although her father's employment as a musician in Queen Elizabeth's court had accustomed Lanyer to this elite world, her marriage of convenience to Alphonso proved to separate her from the privileged class in which she envisioned herself a peer. Alphonso squandered the wealth Lanyer brought to the marriage and was never knighted. It is from this place of social descent that Lanyer pens Salve Deus. By writing to these potential patrons and, at times, reminiscing about their friendship, Lanyer rhetorically positions herself as a member of this community. (9) In fact, her precarious economic position and her pursuit of such prominent patrons have led some scholars to interpret Lanyer's seemingly feminist agenda as secondary to her economic one. (10)
But even beyond announcing the economic and social purpose behind Salve Deus, the dedications are central to our reading of the text because they tell us how to interpret the Passion narrative that follows. They introduce the religious structure--the Protestant Eucharist--that becomes the sustaining force behind her argument, for it is through this ritual that Lanyer constructs her presentation of Jesus's body in the Passion poem and catalyzes the social community she hopes to enter. Of the nine dedications written to specific women, seven of them explicitly link their reading of Lanyer's book to their presence at a feast. In the opening poem addressed to Queen Anne, Lanyer identifies Eve, who reappears in the "Eve's Apology" section of Salve Deus, as the host who "must entertaine you to this Feast, / To which your Highnesse is the welcom'st guest" (83-84). From this point forward, Lanyer weaves this metaphor throughout the dedications as she invites each of them "unto this wholesome feast" ("To the Lady Elizabeths Grace," 9). Lanyer claims authority over what she terms "my feast" ("The Authors Dreame," 206) by rhetorically constructing it and by generating its central object of consumption: she invites her guests to feast upon her book. Notably, the event is not limited only to the nine women she identifies by name, but extends "To all vertuous Ladies in generall," who will, she hopes, consume her text. (11)
Although the context of this feast certainly carries the broad implications of wealth, status, and even royalty, Lanyer makes this feast a specifically Eucharistic one. The opening poem to Queen Anne immediately situates the feast within the context of a religious ceremony:
For here I have prepar'd my Paschal Lambe, The figure of that living Sacrifice; Who dying, all the'Infernall powres orecame, That we with him t'Eternitie might rise: This pretious Passeover feed upon, O Queene, Let your faire Virtues in my Glasse be seene. (85-90)
The terms "Paschal" and "Passeover" may seem at first to link this feast exclusively to Jewish tradition, as Catherine Keohane has noted. (12) Such rhetoric might suggest, as Ina Schabert puts it, "Lanyer's religious tolerance and eclecticism." (13) While Lanyer's poetry may indeed reflect a breadth of religious experience, her use of paschal rhetoric does not necessarily indicate subversion, for the Christian Eucharist had long found its precedent in Jewish tradition. According to the Gospel accounts, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper while he and his disciples were celebrating Passover, which suggested to Christians that they should celebrate the new ritual in place of the Jewish custom. When instructing readers on the purpose and practice of the Lord's Supper, the Apostle Paul writes, "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7-8). (14) According to Pauline tradition, both the feasting of Passover and the feasting of the Eucharist find their origin in the figure of Christ who functions as the signified figure of both rituals. As the fulfillment of the Jewish ceremony, Christ is rendered as the paschal lamb, and it is his status as such that inaugurates the Eucharist feast.
Based on the pattern articulated by New Testament writers, the relationship between Eucharist and Passover characterized each expression of the ritual, across Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant sects. But in the era of Reformation, Protestants were the ones who most fiercely relied on the Passover precedent in their arguments against transubstantiation. If Passover is the model for the Eucharist, they argued, then both ceremonies function in the same way--as allegories that signify Christ, but that do not generate a redemptive sacrifice or mediate the presence of his fleshly body. For Thomas Cranmer, the example of Passover, in which the food and drink were symbols, eliminated the possibility that in the Eucharist the same elements would now transform their substances. "As the pure Paschal lambe without spot, signified Christ"--that is, by pointing forward to his sacrifice--so also does the Eucharist signify Christ by pointing backward to the same event. (15) If the Eucharist invokes Christ's literal body under the form of bread and wine, he reasons, then the Jewish Passover must have done the same: "Wherefore if you will prove any real and corporal presence of Christ by that place [that is, in the Catholic Mass], you may as well prove that he was corporally present in circumcision, in eating of the paschal lamb, and in baptism, as in the Lords supper." (16) Protestant printer and clergyman Robert Crowley likewise appeals to the Jewish ritual in his argument against transubstantiation: "[H]e offered himselfe figuratiuely in the paschall lambe... .
[T]he fathers in the olde lawe in all their sacrifices did offer Christ not in substaunce, but in figure, and so Christ offering the paschall lambe at his supper, offered him selfe in figure." (17) If Christ was not present "in substance" in the Passover, then he could not, Crowley reasons, be present in substance in the Eucharist. Notably, the term "paschal lamb" exists even in the communion liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer, which also instructs the clergy to invite congregants "to a moste godly and hevenly Feast,... and so come and be receyved as worthye partakers of suche a hevenly Table." (18) In the context of seventeenth-century Protestant England, Lanyer's paschal terminology suggests neither a subversive religious ceremony nor a broadly Christian one, but rather a mainline defense for the signifying status of the Protestant Eucharist.
Indeed, it is the figuration Lanyer assigns to the Eucharist that most clearly positions Salve Deus in a Protestant paradigm. When she writes,
"For here I have prepar'd my Paschal Lambe, / The figure of that living Sacrifice," she appeals to the language of figuration, precisely the language that distinguishes this feast from the Catholic Mass. Properly speaking, both Catholic and Protestant versions of the ritual are comprised of signs and articulated using the discourse of signification, but each group assigns a very different form and function to these signs. In the Catholic Mass, the bread and wine not only signify Christ's body and blood but become those very things. These tangible materials divinely change into a different substance, a transformation that goes unobserved because the bread and wine retain their accidents and thus continue to look and taste just like normal bread and wine. In contrast, the Protestant Eucharist maintains a strict distinction between sign and referent because the elements do not change their substance or morph into the literal body and blood of Christ. Rather, they function strictly as signs that point to their referents without becoming them. Protestants notoriously disagreed with each other, however, on how this signification worked and what it effected. John Calvin--whose theology Lee Palmer Wandel identifies as the source of much Reformed thought across Europe, including that of Thomas Cranmer in England (19)--believed that the bread signified Christ's spiritual (not bodily) presence and "makes us feel its efficacy," imparting "benefits" that include the mystical experience of "souls receiv[ing] aliment from Christ's flesh." (20) Huldrych Zwingli, on the other hand, adopts the term "commemoration" to describe the signification of bread and wine, denying that the ritual effects any change whatsoever and seeing it as "the thanksgiving by which we express our joy." (21) Although Protestants profoundly disagreed with each other over the precise nature of the Eucharistic signs, what united them (Luther not withstanding) was their belief that the signs of bread and wine retain their substance as such and do not collapse into their referents by becoming the real flesh and blood of Christ. (22) As Wandel notes, Reformers univocally rejected transubstantiation and preserved "some notion of 'sign' to designate the relationship between 'this' and 'my body?'" (23) In contrast to Catholics, who avowed the doctrine of transubstantiation, Protestants saw signification as the source of the Eucharist's spiritual efficacy, investing unprecedented power to the work of signs. In light of this new value assigned to signification, Judith Anderson describes the sixteenth-century Eucharist debates as "constitut[ing] an epistemological watershed between the early age and the one to come." (24)
It is the power associated with these signs that, as Catholic defenders argued, diminished or even negated the power of Christ's Passion. As they saw it, mere signs and empty forms became the focus in a ritual intended to manifest the real body and sacrifice of Christ. According to Thomas
More, the "schismatics and heretics... have for the sake of the sign alone destroyed the whole substance of the sacrament and all its fruit." (25) In his oral disputation against Thomas Cranmer, Owen Oglethorpe says, "whosoever saith that Christ spake by figures, saith that he did lie." (26) If metaphor indicates deception, (27) then a Eucharist comprised of mere signs suggests the potential fantasy of their referents. In this case, where the referents are Christ's body and blood and their salvific potential, the reality of Christ's Passion and its provision of salvation become ancillary, even unimportant, when rendered as distant referents that are not physically present in the Eucharistic moment. Catholics could not abide such a proposition, for it seemed to make the sacrament to "worketh nothing" and implied that Christ himself "worketh nothing." (28)
Protestants, in contrast, relished the figuration embedded in the Eucharist. Resorting to a litany of terms, Cranmer describes the bread and wine as "similitudes, mysteries and representations, significations, sacraments, figures, and signs of his body and blood." (29) John Jewel includes a similar though longer list of terms: "And these sacraments... We call figures, signs, marks or badges, prints, copies, forms, seals, signets, similitudes, patterns, representations, remembrances, and memories." (30) One term will not suffice, not because these writers are confused or imprecise, conflating terms or playing a game of rhetorical concealment, but because, for Protestants, the Eucharist embodies a complex network of figuration. While Reformers relied on a diverse vocabulary to describe the Eucharist, the common thread in their discourse is the unequivocal positioning of the elements as objects of figuration, not as the real body and blood of Christ. As a ritual of figuration, the Protestant Eucharist becomes an event of interpretation in which participants must learn to read the signified Christ through the signs of bread and wine. The distinctly figurative status of the Eucharist thus becomes the precedent for the explicit textuality Lanyer assigns to Christ's body, inviting her readers to read his limbs and wounds as they do the stanzas of Salve Deus. For Lanyer to describe the "Paschal Lambe" of her Eucharistic feast as a "figure" is to unequivocally position herself against a Catholic rendering of the ceremony that abhorred the merely figural status Protestants assigned to the ritual.
Moreover, when Lanyer says that "here I have prepar'd my Paschal Lambe," she identifies a location--and in this case an object--around which her guests have gathered. While the deictic adverb "here" could theoretically refer to the book itself, the preceding lines suggest the context of a feast: "For she [Eve] must entertaine you to this Feast, / To which your Highnesse [Queen Anne] is the welcom'st guest. / For here I haue prepar'd my Paschal
Lambe" (83-85). (31) This feast, as Lanyer repeatedly notes, is one that includes "seats" and, by implication, a table, on which the paschal lamb is presented. The material object--the "here@@"--on which Lanyer performs her Eucharist is important because it distinguishes her ritual from that of Catholics. The Catholic Mass was traditionally performed not at a table but on an altar to signify the sacrificial nature of the ceremony. In a Catholic paradigm, Jesus is reincarnated on the altar at each and every ceremony, which reenacts the sacrifice of his crucifixion. (32) In contrast, Protestants denied both the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist and the bodily presence of Christ in the ceremony. Since an altar suggested a sacrifice and invited adoration of the host, a table, they believed, better reflected the meaning of the ritual--a meal of commemorative and communal celebration. In the early modern period, therefore, "the altar was a vital battleground... about conflicting beliefs on sacramental theology, imagery, sanctity, and reverence." (33) As a violent outcry against images, icons, and transubstantiation, the Church of England under King Edward VI struck down the altars and replaced them with tables. The triumph of table over altar extended through the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I and was not successfully challenged until the Laudian influence of the 1630s and beyond. (34) The Eucharistic ritual Lanyer and her readers were most familiar with, the one they presumably participated in each time they attended an Anglican service, would have included a table rather than an altar. Having prepared her feast and invited her readers to "feed upon" the food of the "Paschal Lambe," Lanyer gestures to the table around which they have gathered, further implying the Protestant structure of her Eucharist.
Lanyer also demonstrates the Protestant tones of her ritual by offering her readers a body that generates the exact same effects assigned to the Protestant Eucharist--namely, unity among participants. From the Last Supper through 1500 years of Eucharistic discourse, unity stood at the center of the ceremony. By eating the bread and drinking the wine, participants bind themselves first to Christ and then to each other, united across time and space as the Church, the metaphorical Body of Christ. In tracing the ebbs and flows of this communal rhetoric in Eucharistic discourse, David Aers and Sarah Beckwith argue that the medieval period saw a clear retreat from this emphasis, in part due to the "hegemonic model of transubstantiation" which "tend[ed] to occlude" the emphasis on Eucharistic unity. As the Catholic Church imposed a strict hierarchy between priest and parishioners and denied the chalice to congregants, the participatory and unifying qualities of the ritual became secondary to the "model of divine power" through which the real body of Christ was miraculously sacrificed on the altar. (35) As Beckwith states elsewhere, "There is much evidence that by the late Middle Ages the mass was becoming more and more of a spectacle and less and less of a communion." (36) Contrasting the Mass with the Protestant Eucharist, Timothy Rosendale suggests that the Protestant ritual "centered instead on personal engagement and intellectual access to the divine" and "was built on clarity, comprehension, inclusion, and participation." (37) In rejecting the miracle of transubstantiation and its sacrificial efficacy, the Protestant Reformation aimed to reform the Eucharist in such a way as to reassert the ritual's power to represent and construct the community of believers. What results from this reimagining is a ritual performed in the vernacular and fueled by a belief in the priesthood of all believers. The second Book of Homilies articulates this turn toward community by depicting the ritual as one that reflects "not only our communion to Christ, but that unity also, wherein they that eat at this table be knit together... joined by the bond of love, in one mystical body, as the corns of that bread in one loaf." (38) Lanyer appropriates this emphasis in her own depiction of the Eucharist by advocating a socially disruptive level of unity among her female readers. Although she excludes men from this sacramental community, she does so in service of a social critique and a new vision of gendered community, all of which is propelled by the language of the Eucharist. Lanyer creates a community of reading women and calls for unity among them, in part because she sees in women a propensity for division: "All women deserve not to be blamed though some forgetting they are women themselves, and in danger to be condemned by the words of their owne mouthes, fall into so great an errour, as to speake unadvisedly against the rest of their sexe" ("To the Vertuous Reader," 11-15). She seeks to correct this "errour" by inviting them to gather "in perfit unity" around a Eucharistic table, an idealized place where the women live "in equall sov'raigntie... / Equall in state, equall in dignitie" ("The Authors Dreame," 90, 93-94). Lanyer connects their own "sweet unity" (96) directly to Christ, whom she identifies as "great Messias, Lord of unitie" (120). As she unites women around the table of the Eucharist, she strategically blurs the lines of class, inviting the likes of the queen to the same table where she herself sits. She rhetorically erases class borders to reassert her status within the social elite of the royal court, a step that requires, according to Ann Baynes Coiro, "all the backing of Jesus Christ to propel [Lanyer] into that place." (39) This move is not unprecedented, however. Referring to those who partake of the Eucharist, the Book of Homilies instructs, "If thou have fostered hatred and malice, now openly shew thy love and charity; yea be prest and ready to procure thy neighbour's health of soul, wealth, advantage, and pleasures, as thy own." (40) Lanyer effectively coopts this principle of Eucharistic reception to situate herself as the one in need of the "wealth, advantage, and pleasures" of those joining her at the sacramental table. This unity within a gendered group and across class lines occurs as her readers consume the food she offers them and therein experience the dehierarchizing envisioned in the Eucharist.
Lanyer's pursuit of unity within the context of a Eucharistic feast parallels the precise practice and purpose of the ceremony in post-Reformation England. The unifying effect associated with the Eucharist motivated, in part, Thomas Cranmer's writing of the Book of Common Prayer. First instituted in 1549, the prayerbooks primary goal was to provide a uniform liturgy across the English Church. (41) As one of the most divisive issues of the era, the Eucharist occupied a central place within this liturgy and was the primary editorial focus in the 1552 and 1559 editions. The 1604 prayerbook that Lanyer and her readers would have been most recently accustomed to was often referred to as the Communion Book. This unofficial title reflected not only the prayerbooks purpose of regulating Anglican ceremonies, including that of the Communion liturgy, but also to the unity the book would ostensibly yield across England. James I initiated the 1604 revisions to appease (or rather silence) Puritan dissenters, hoping to construct a tacit level of unity, or at least a state-mandated uniformity, among Reformed sects in England. When Lanyer links her reading feast to the unity it forges, she positions her book among the Protestant texts and liturgy that specifically defined her and her readers' personal experience with the ceremony. She appropriates the Eucharist as the model for female unity to add divine weight to her brazen quest--to position herself on equal footing with the queen and her court and to credit herself with generating this unlikely community. Her attempt to do so, however, is not without its problems. As Lisa Schnell argues, Lanyer is unable "to celebrate her fantasy of a united community of women" because she recognizes the extent to which she exists outside the world of her patrons. (42) But as fantastical and illusory as it may have been, Lanyer nonetheless constructs her book around the rhetorical possibility of this community--and she does so via Eucharistic theology.
The Eucharist that permeates the first third of Lanyer's book also concludes it as she returns to this imagery in the final lines of Salve Deus. In summarizing the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice, she describes his blood as "sweet holy rivers" ("Salve Deus," 1729), "swift sugred currents" (1731), and "hony dropping dew of holy love" (1737). Rendered as a sweet-tasting liquid, Christ's blood holds spiritual significance, much like "Sweet Nectar and Ambrosia, food of Saints, / Which, whoso tasteth, never after faints" (1735-36). She then goes on to describe Christ's body, distinguishing between blood and flesh in such a way as to indicate two separate elements, such as might rest on the Eucharistic table. Although his body, like his blood, has "great sweetnesse" (1793), it is decidedly a form of bread. In the span of two stanzas, Lanyer provides four distinct descriptions of Christ's body, all of which unequivocally position it as bread to be eaten: "the bread of life Eternall" (1778), "heav'nly Manna" (1783), "wheate of heaven" (1785), and "blessed Angells bread" (1785). Christ's "blessed body" (661) and "blessed blood" (1176), which stood at the center of Lanyer's Passion poem, now turn into bread and wine, the "blessed food" (1781) of this reading feast. In littering her poem with such rhetoric, Lanyer echoes prayerbook phrases like "spiritual food," "blessed body and blood," "heavenly feast," and "heavenly table" that characterized the Church of England's Communion liturgy. As Lanyer concludes her book, she identifies this tasting of "sugrd currents" and "wheate of heaven" as the culmination of the Eucharistic feast she had invited her guests to attend in the introductory poems. Having read the story of Christ's Passion and beheld his broken body, her readers have figuratively consumed the Eucharistic elements and experienced the unity found therein.
As Lanyer returns to the imagery of feasting, eating, and tasting in the final stanzas of her poem, she creates a framing device that reminds readers that everything they have read thus far has occurred at the table of the Eucharist. And all that they have read, they have figuratively consumed. The return to this imagery suggests an intentional connection between the title poem and those dedicatory epistles that might otherwise seem like unrelated prefatory material. (43) Danielle Clark identifies the patrons themselves as the glue of this textual cohesion, since "they are its interpretive community." (44) Given the frame Lanyer selects for "Salve Deus," I argue instead that the unifying element is not the readers themselves but the context in which they are reading, for it is the Eucharistic feast that unites these two sections. In framing the book with the Eucharist, Lanyer invites readers to see the dedicatory epistles and the title poem as part of the same discourse. Moreover, she invites them to interpret everything about the Passion narrative through the lens of this ritual. The Eucharist is not just a related metaphor or a passing gesture, but the central structure that necessarily directs how we interpret the narrative lying within its frame.
Situating Christ's Passion within a Eucharistic feast--and specifically a Protestant one of figuration--accounts for the textuality Lanyer assigns to Christ's body in the "Salve Deus" poem. While we might expect a narrative on the Passion to center on Christ's body, Lanyer repeatedly emphasizes the textuality of this body rather than its fleshiness. By reading her poem, readers will encounter Christ as a book, "in whose most pretious wounds your soule may reade / Salvation" ("To the Ladie Lucie," 13-14). Lanyer envisions herself as presenting, through her narrative, a picture of Christ, one that is first seen but then immediately read. Lodged in the soul of her readers, this picture figures forth his body: "his cheeks like scarlet, and his eyes so bright... his head is likened to the finest gold, / His curled lockes so beauteous to behold" ("Salve Deus," 1308, 1311-12). But even as she describes this body, she transforms it into text. The act of seeing Christ's body--"There may you see him" (1329)--immediately becomes an act of reading--"There may you reade his true and perfect storie" (1331). The textuality of Christ's body is also the object of desire, for the reader "desires that he may be the Booke, / Whereon thine eyes continually may looke" (1351-52). Lanyer renders their desire as one for a book whose "deep characters" are "writ with blood and tears" (1725). At the end of the poem, she reiterates that this reading occurs at the site of Christ's body. "Those blessed Everlasting scroules" are none other than "His hands, his feete, his body, and his face" (1726-27). The encounter with Christ that Lanyer generates through the pages of her book is mediated through reading, and more specifically, through reading the book of Christ's body.
The textuality of Christ's body is one of the most arresting images in Lanyer's poetry. As Wendy Wall explains, Lanyer "restructures the relationships among writer, text, and reader by figuring Christ as a commodified text and naming the reading public as women who righteously seek the printed object of their spiritual and textual desire." Reflecting the vibrant presence of print culture, this imagery is, as Wall notes, the way Lanyer "express [es] her political and moral authority." (45) But such authority also comes from a decidedly religious paradigm, for the readability she assigns to Christ's body stems from the status of the Eucharist in Protestant England. If bread and wine are signs of Christ's body and blood, and not the signifieds themselves, then these elements become texts that require reading and interpretation. And so it is not surprising that Protestant theologians forged a direct relationship between reading and sacrament as they relate the Eucharist to the reading of the Bible. For Martin Luther, the sacrament hinges upon the primacy of the words associated with the elements, for "The Word of God is the chief thing in the sacrament," and "if you have lost these words, you have lost the sacrament." (46) John Calvin writes in the Institutes (1536), "Let it be a fixed point, that the office of the sacraments differs not from the word of God; and this is to hold forth and offer Christ to us, and, in him, the treasures of heavenly grace." The sacrament cannot be separated from Scripture nor made secondary to it. The word and the sacrament go together because they do the same thing, namely reveal Christ and his grace to the reader/recipient. Sacraments are "akin to the preaching of the gospel" because they do what Scripture does but in a different form. (47) Richard Hooker also links Scripture to sacrament when he argues that the Church has but two methods for carrying out its purpose, word and sacrament, "both havinge generative force and vertue." (48) The shared purpose of Scripture and sacrament not only makes the reading of Scripture a sacramental activity but also transforms the sacred ritual into an encounter with the text of God's word. This is why William Tyndale can map book-rhetoric onto the sacraments when he says that in the ceremony is "red the worde of god, as we do in bokes, and as we shuld doo in oure sacramentes." (49) As Timothy Rosendale explains, Reformers offered "a figurative, interpretive, readerly conception of the sacrament." (50) This explicit link between reading and sacrament stems not only from a culture newly defined by print, but also by a Protestant Eucharist whose signification required reading. In "giv[ing] visible form to God's words," as Judith Anderson terms it, a Protestant Eucharist does not desacralize the ritual, as Catholic defenders argued, but invests it with the weight of Scripture. (51) A reader of the Bible and a participant in sacramental ritual are involved in a similar process of reading, where Christ is the interpretive end. To read the text of the Eucharistic elements is to read the very word of God. For Protestants--who appealed to Scripture as the highest authority and advocated mass readership of the Bible--there could be no higher statement of the Eucharist's power and centrality.
When a Protestant Eucharist displaces Christ's body, the bread and wine of the ritual become figures that signify an absent body. In a poem that describes the Passion of Christ, however, Lanyer cannot very well erase his body from her narrative. But she also cannot represent him as a real and lively body because she has structured the poem as a Eucharistic feast of the Protestant persuasion. The problem she now faces is how to represent a body that is essential to the Passion narrative but absent from the Eucharistic one. To mediate this tension, Lanyer opts to textualize Christ's body. Rendered as a book, Christ's body is, so to speak, present through figuration, but also situated firmly within the signifying paradigm of a Protestant Eucharist. As her Protestant predecessors had done, Lanyer too reminds her readers that they are not consuming Christ's literal body, but rather reading a text through which they encounter his crucifixion.
In addition to offering her readers a textual Jesus, Lanyer conflates the book of Christ's body with the book of her poems, a move that assigns her poetry a Eucharistic status. She invites readers to "reade / This little Booke that I present to you," but simultaneously claims to "present to you the King of kings" ("To the Lady Katherine," 49-50, 42). She "write[s] of Christ" and gives her book to Queen Anne, "desiring that this Booke Her hands may kisse: / And though I be unworthy of that grace, / Yet let her blessed thoghts this book imbrace" (141-44). The antecedent of the repeated words "this book" remains ambiguous, either referring back to Christ's body or to Lanyer's own composition, both of which she might envision her readers kissing and embracing. In the poem "To the Lady Arabella," Lanyer invites her to "cast your eyes upon this little Booke" (9), which seems at first to refer to Lanyer's poem, but the next lines conflate her own book with Christ when she invites Arabella to "spare one looke / Upon this humbled King" (11-12). In her letter to Lady Margaret, Lanyer claims to "present unto you even our Lord Jesus himselfe" (6-7). She refers, it seems, to Christ when she writes, "I deliver the inestimable treasure of all elected soules, to be perused at convenient times" (29-30). This "inestimable treasure" hearkens back to the earlier description of Christ as the "most precious pearle of all perfection, this rich diamond of devotion" (10-11). But this "so super-excellent" (16) Christ is not easily distinguishable from her own book. She "deliver[s]" Christ to her readers, as though presenting something tangible to them; she invites them to "peruse" him, a verb most often applied to the reading of a book; and she asks them to do so "at convenient times," implying that their perusal is not tied to the constant presence of Christ but rather to the temporal act of reading. In mingling the materiality of her book with the presence of "Jesus himselfe" (7), Lanyer conflates the two texts of Salve Deus: the text of Christ's body becomes nearly indistinguishable from the text of her own book. The equivocality of these lines indicates that, for Lanyer, the reading of one book is akin to the reading of the other.
When Lanyer conflates her text with the text of Christ's body, she invests sacramental value to the reading of her poetry. When seen in the framework of the Eucharist, the lines of her poetry function much like the elements of bread and wine at the Communion table: they figure forth Christ and his Passion. Rather than just recounting the Passion narrative or describing the Eucharist feast based on it, Salve Deus becomes a Eucharist in its own right. Through the reading of Lanyer's own words, they read Christ's body and therein "feed their soules" ("Salve Deus," 1784). In such a rendering, Lanyer authorizes herself as the mediator of the Eucharist, the self-appointed priestess of the ceremony. As Janel Mueller, Micheline White, Theresa Di-Pasquale, Yaakov Mascetti, and Gary Kuchar have demonstrated, Lanyer's appropriation of the priestly position deconstructs gender hierarchies as she writes women, and particularly herself, into a liturgical tradition that excluded them from roles of such authority. (52) To collapse her role as author into the even more audacious role of priest, Lanyer must first conflate her own book with the book of Christ.
Presumably, it is this conflation, in which "flesh" collapses into "word," that has led scholars to describe Salve Deus as an incarnational text. Janel Mueller says that the central mystery of Salve Deus is "Lanyer's understanding of Christ's incarnation." (53) Wendy Wall argues that "[h]er text becomes the Word Incarnate" as she "call[s] attention to the fleshliness of her own representation of the Word." (54) According to Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen, "Lanyer's poetry literally embodies the suffering Christ." (55) In linking this incarnational thesis specifically to Lanyer's dedications, Esther Gilman Richey suggests that "the epistolary form participates in the virgin's incarnational act" by "reproducing Christ" and "deliver[ing]" him through her book. (56) Ultimately, this leads, as Femke Molekamp argues, to an entire "poetics of incarnation" in which "Christ is not merely represented but actually incarnated in her text." (57)
The problem with reading Salve Deus as an incarnational poem, however, is that Lanyer frames the narrative as a Eucharist feast of the Protestant persuasion, in which Christ's physical body is most certainly not present and not incarnated in the ritual. While the Catholic Mass offers particpants a reincarnated Christ in the forms of bread and wine, the Protestant Eucharist promises no such fleshly presence. (58) An incarnational interpretation of Lanyer's book attempts to explain how and why she conflates body and book--but it does so by excising the Eucharistic imagery that characterizes Salve Deus. To interpret a book so full of the Eucharist as an incarnational text is, in this case, to see it as a Catholic text. But this is an option Lanyer seeks to offset. She takes great care to emphasize that her readers are not encountering Christ's literal body, but instead directs them to see him first and foremost as a text that demands reading. Rather than the word becoming flesh, which would indicate an incarnational approach, Lanyer reverses this sequence and turns the flesh of Christ into textual, readable words. Undoubtedly, Lanyer is subversive in her representation of gender and in her bold expansion of biblical texts. In doing so, however, she has not cast aside the prevailing Eucharistic theology of the Reformed Church of England but, instead, appropriated its distinct conventions and possibilities. Although Lynette McGrath suggests that Lanyer uses religion "as a code (not insincerely manipulated) which allows the presentation of a subversive message," (59) such an explanation downplays the religious impulse of the poem in favor of its untraditional sentiments. As Barbara Lewalski has argued, Lanyer "interprets her experience of life in religious categories" (60)--and one such category is the Protestant Eucharist. As such, the supposed incarnational elements of
Salve Deus do not easily coincide with the religious category Lanyer so vividly appropriates. In short, to interpret Salve Deus through the lens of incarnation fails to account for the Eucharistic theology that defines Lanyer's book.
With the stakes of the Eucharist--indeed the Passion narrative itself--resting on readers' ability to read Jesus's body, Salve Deus is, as Diane Purkiss acknowledges, "a poem about difficulties of interpretation." (61) Misreading the text Lanyer has made available separates her readers not just from the meaning of the poem but from the efficacy and centrality of the Eucharist. To misread the text of Christ's body is to separate oneself from the ritual's vitality, and thus to stand outside the truth and community embodied in the ceremony. As Lanyer's telling of the Passion narrative makes clear, this text is easily misinterpreted, since all but the female characters misread the text of Jesus's body and find themselves unable to understand the salvation toward which it points. To mediate the proper interpretation of this text, Lanyer steps in as reading instructor. While Constance Furey contends that "the success of this reading depends... on the reader," (62) Lanyer evidently sees herself as quite central to the process as well. Having framed her narrative with a Protestant Eucharist that emphasizes figuration, she articulates a hermeneutic that, not surprisingly, hinges on a figurative interpretation of Jesus's body.
After writing 11 dedicatory epistles, Lanyer defers the central Passion poem yet again as she detours into a discussion of virtue (63)--but it is through this seemingly tangential discourse that she instructs readers on how to read the narrative that follows. Having strategically acknowledged the Dowager Countess of Cumberland's "outward Beautie which the world commends" ("Salve Deus," 185), Lanyer proceeds to praise her "mind enrich'd with Virtue" (197), suggesting that physical beauty should direct the viewer's gaze toward interior moral strength. She contrasts herself, who sees beyond external appearance, with a lineup of notorious men who looked only at the external beauty of women like Helen, Lucrece, and Cleopatra, and consequently led themselves, their lovers, and their nations into disarray. (64) Lanyer juxtaposes the example of these men, who value only what can be seen with a worldly eye, with the example of the Countess, who "leav[es] the world" (162) and instead sees with "the eye of Wisdom" (281). As she sets out to tell the story of Christ's Passion, and ultimately to direct her readers to the text of Jesus's body, Lanyer acknowledges the special sight this feat requires. Like her readers, she too must "behold it with the eye of Faith" (318) before she can ask them to do the same. The reading of Jesus's body necessitates this "eye of faith," for without it, readers see only the literal body and not the salvific reality toward which it points.
Lanyer next turns to the example of male characters in the Bible to show her female readers how not to read Jesus's body. The men in the crucifixion story fail to recognize Christ's divine purpose precisely because they default to a literal reading of Jesus. Although Peter "thought his Faith could never fall, / No mote could happen in so clear a sight" (341-42), he ultimately casts aside the eyes of faith. In fact, so do all the disciples, for they "shut those Eies that should their Maker see" (420). They can, of course, see Christ's physical body; but although they experience him in the flesh, they fail to recognize his divine status and the purpose of his impending death. When the mob of priests and scribes comes to arrest Jesus, Lanyer credits their actions not to malice or fear or vice, but to blindness: "They could not know him, whom their eyes did see. / How blinde were they" (504-5). Again, they can physically see Jesus; but although they "sought and found" him in the Garden of Gethsemane, they "yet could not know" him (498). He "presents himself, that they might take a view" and "cleerely see" (515-16), but they still cannot recognize him as the "Lord of Light and Truth" (510) because they lack the eyes of faith. Caiaphas likewise suffers from blindness: "Though he [Jesus] expresse his Glory unto thee, / Thy Owly eies are blind, and cannot see" (711-12). Lanyer depicts the crucifixion as the product of failed sight, a tragedy that could have been prevented if the entire cast of masculine characters had read Jesus's body differently.
"Eve's Apology," the oft-anthologized section of Salve Deus, extends this critique of masculine reading by contrasting the limits of Eve's sight with that of Adam and his male successors. Lanyer credits the Fall of Man, in part, to absent sight, for Eve "had no power to see" (765) the serpent's deception and the ensuing consequences of her choice. But Eve's lack of sight stands distinct from the blindness of men. Lanyer links Eve's blindness to her lack of knowledge, indicating that "undiscerning Ignorance perceav'd /No guile, or craft" in the serpent (769-70), for "had she knowne, of what we were bereav'd, / To his request she had not condescended" (771-72). Lacking knowledge, Eve defaults to a straightforward interpretation of the serpent's words and so seals the fate of humankind. In contrast, Adam possesses the knowledge that should have given him discerning sight, for he had "from God's mouth receiv'd that strait command, / The breach whereof he knew was present death" (787-88). The knowledge Adam had, which Eve did not possess, was meant to prevent temptation and was the source of his power: "God's holy word ought all his actions frame, / For he was Lord and King of all the earth" (781-82) and thus had "power to rule both Sea and Land" (789). Adam acts outside this knowledge, and so "greater was his shame" (780). The difference, then, between Eve and Adam is that Eve lacked knowledge to mediate her decision. "If Eve did erre," Lanyer writes, "it was for knowledge sake" (797); Adam erred in acting against the knowledge he had.
This is the same error Pilate's wife, a nameless figure to whom Lanyer gives extensive voice far beyond what is provided in the biblical account, assigns to her husband. She pleads with him to "Open thine eies, that thou the truth mai'st see, / Doe not the thing that goes against thy heart" (755-56). Evidently, Pilate possesses knowledge, the kind lodged deep in the recesses of his heart, that would allow him to "view [Christ's] holy Life" and thus prevent the travesty of the crucifixion. Whereas Eve lacked the power to see, Pilate (like Adam) has the knowledge to see the truth, but instead chooses to shut his eyes and ignore it. In condemning Jesus, Pilate is "content against all truth and right" and willfully acts against the knowledge he possesses (842). Since Jesus's death apparently stems from the pervasive blindness of the male characters, Lanyer implies that, if the "eye of faith" had prevailed, then the crucifixion would not have taken place. (65)
Ultimately, the failure of literal reading points readers toward the necessity of metaphorical reading. The literal realm of a physical world that can be seen and tasted and touched must be understood as always pointing beyond itself, as allegorizing something invisible and spiritual. Lanyer concludes the crucifixion scene by fixating on Jesus as he hangs on the cross, describing him firstly in terms of bodily appearance:
His joynts dis-joynted, and his legges hang downe, His alablaster breast, his bloody side, His members torne, and on his head a Crowne Of sharpest Thorns, to satisfie for pride: Anguish and Paine doe all his Sences drowne, While they his holy garments do diuide: His bowels drie, his heart full fraught with griefe, Crying to him that yeelds him no reliefe. (1161-68)
Lanyer essentially offers her readers a blazon of Christ, albeit a grotesque one. While such a stanza may seem to contribute to the poem's incarnational persuasion, the next stanza reminds readers to read this fleshiness through a different lens. It is not just an image of a grotesque execution, but a figure that points to the salvation of the world: "This with the eie of Faith thou maist behold" (1169). The "eye of faith" mediates a figurative reading, for without this form of sight, the literal and thus nonsalvific reading prevails. The explicit exhortation to see Christ's body with the eyes of faith echoes back to the dedicatory poems where Lanyer promises to offer her readers Christ's body, "in whose most pretious wounds your soule may reade / Salvation"
("To the Ladie Lucie," 13-14). His are no ordinary wounds because they carry the weight of spiritual signification, and to read them as merely literal marks blinds the reader to their salvific efficacy.
While the male characters see Christ only from a literal perspective--as a man condemned to die, as a criminal wounded by nails, spears, and thorns--Lanyer invites her readers to see beyond the physical toward what the whole scenario signifies. He is certainly no less than his embodied self, but he is also much more: "There may you see him as a God in glory, / And as a man in miserable case" ("Salve Deus," 1329-30). She acknowledges the tendency for readers to look only at the external appearance and thus interpret Jesus only on a literal level: "Sometimes h'appears to thee in Shepheards weed... Sometimes imprison'd, naked, poore, and bare, / Full of diseases, impotent, and lame" (1345, 1353-54). But this appearance of someone ostensibly unglorious is meant as a test "to see if yet shee [the reader] will remaine the same" and continue to look at what lies beyond the literal form. In so doing, the readers' "eyes are op'ned" and "seest so cleare" (1365), and only then do they "reade his true and perfect storie" as he becomes "the Booke, / Whereon thine eyes continually may looke" (1351-52). Only when her readers make the interpretive leap from literal body to its spiritual figuration will they effectively consume the elements of the Eucharistic feast as they learn to read the "figure of that living sacrifice." Just as the efficacy of a Protestant Eucharist depends on the metaphorical interpretation of bread and wine, so also does Lanyer s reading feast depend on a figurative reading of its central character--the body of Christ.
As a marginalized woman in Stuart England--and a poor, unpublished one at that--Lanyer casts her poetry within the framework of the Protestant Eucharist because this ritual authorizes reading and interpretation and proposes a radically egalitarian community. The framework of a Eucharistic feast does more than contextualize Salve Deus as a religious text: it mediates Lanyer's claims of equality between herself and her elite patrons. She envisions Christ inviting the church to a heavenly feast "Where he that is the greatest may be least" ("To the Ladie Anne," 16). Just as this future feast will realign hierarchies, so also does Lanyer envision her own Eucharistic feast doing the same between her and her patrons. She acknowledges that "God makes both even, the Cottage with the Throne," for "What difference was there when the world began?" (19, 33). Lanyer performs and hopes to generate this radical equality by inviting England's most elite women to the table of the Eucharist, a place where all are welcomed apart from status or wealth or background. Moreover, by making her own writing the object of sacramental consumption, she invites their patronage for a project that carries divine significance. The precisely Protestant theology of the Eucharist allows her to invest this level of importance to the reading feast she creates. Through this ritual, she elevates herself as both a woman and a writer, and also elevates the status of her poetry. The theology of a Protestant Eucharist makes such audacious promotions possible.
(1) Aemilia Lanyer, The Poems of Aemilia Lanyer: Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, ed. Susanne Woods (Oxford U. Press, 1993). References are cited parenthetically by title and line numbers.
(2) Yaakov Mascetti, "'Here I have prepar'd My Paschal Lambe': Reading and Seeing the Eucharistic Presence in Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum,'" Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas 9.1 (2011): 1-15; and Ina Schabert, "The Lady's Supper: Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum' as a Female Celebration of the Eucharist," in Performances of the Sacred in Late Medieval and Early Modern England, ed. Susanne Rupp and Tobias Doring (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005), 161. For other approaches to this imagery, see Lynette McGrath, "Metaphoric Subversions: Feasts and Mirrors in Amelia Lanier's 'Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum,'" LIT 3.2 (1991): 101-13; Catherine Keohane, '"That Blindest Weakness Be Not Over-Bold': Aemilia Lanyer's Radical Unfolding of the Passion," ELH 64.2 (1997): 359-89; Kari Boyd McBride, "Sacred Celebration: The Patronage Poems," in Aemilia Lanyer: Gender, Genre, and the Canon, ed. Marshall Grossman (U. Press of Kentucky, 1998), 60-82; Micheline White, "A Woman with Saint Peters Keys?: Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum' and the Priestly Gifts of Women," Criticism 45.3 (2004): 323-41; Gary Kuchar, "Aemilia Lanyer and the Virgin's Swoon: Theology and Iconography in Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum" ELR 37.1 (2007): 47-73; Theresa M. DiPasquale, Refiguring the Sacred Feminine (Duquesne U. Press, 2008); and Kimberly Anne Coles, Religion, Reform, and Women's Writing in Early Modern England (Cambridge U. Press, 2008).
(3) For more on Lanyer's complex religious negotiations, see Achsah Guibbory, "The Gospel According to Aemilia: Women and the Sacred," in Aemilia Lanyer: Gender, Genre, and the Canon, ed. Marshall Grossman (Lexington: U. Press of Kentucky, 1998), 191-211; Patricia Phillippy, "Sisters of Magdalen: Women's Mourning in Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum" ELR 31.1 (2001): 78-106; Suzanne Trill, "Feminism versus Religion: Towards a Re-Reading of Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum,'" Renaissance and Reformation 25.4 (2001): 67-80; Gary Kuchar, "Sad Delight: Theology and Marian Iconography in Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum" in The Poetry of Religious Sorrow in Early Modern England (Cambridge U. Press, 2008), 124-50; Femke Molekamp, "Reading Christ the Book in Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum': Iconography and the Cultures of Reading," Studies in Philology 109.3 (2012): 311-32; and Anne Marie D'Arcy, "Ecclesia, Anima, and Spiritual Priesthood in Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum" RES 66 (Sept. 2015): 634-54.
(4) For some representative examples, see Janel Mueller, "The Feminist Poetics of Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judeaorum," Feminist Measures: Sounding in Poetry and Theory, ed. Lynn Keller and Christianne Miller (U. of Michigan Press, 1993), 208-36; Guibbory, "The Gospel According to Aemilia"; Marie Loughlin, '"Fast Ti'd Unto Them in a Golden Chaine': Typology, Apocalypse, and Woman's Genealogy in Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum,'' Renaissance Quarterly 53.1 (2000): 133-79; B. R. Siegfried, "An Apology for Knowledge: Gender and the Hermeneutics of Incarnation in the Works of Aemilia Lanyer and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz," Early Modern Literary Studies 6.3 (January 2001): 1-47; Coles, Religion, Reform, and Women's Writing; and Yaakov Mascetti, '"Here I have prepar'd My Paschal Lambe."'
(5) Barbara Lewalski, Writing Women in Jacobean England (Harvard U. Press, 1993), 219.
(6) Loughlin, "'Fast Tid Unto Them in a Golden Chaine,'" 135.
(7) To be sure, Lanyer's unorthodoxy in matters of religion and theology is well documented. See Sue Matheson, "Religious Reconstruction of Feminine Spirituality," in Things of the Spirit, ed. Kristina K. Groover (U of Notre Dame Press, 2004), who argues that Lanyer redefines Pauline marriage (64); and DiPasquale, Refiguring the Sacred Feminine, who identifies in Salve Deus "a new, gynocentric ecclesiology" (106).
(8) Erin A. McCarthy, "Speculation and Multiple Dedications in 'Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum,'" SEL 55.1 (2015): 45-72.
(9) It is important to remember, however, that Lanyer was always several steps removed from this courtly world. See Ann Baynes Coiro, "Writing in Service: Sexual Politics and Class Position in the Poetry of Aemilia Lanyer and Ben Jonson," Criticism 35.3 (1993): 357-76.
(10) See especially Coles, Religion, Reform, and Women's Writing, and Su Fang Ng, "Aemilia Lanyer and the Politics of Praise," ELH 67.2 (2000): 433-51.
(11) For more on the relationship between food and female spirituality, see Carolyn Walker Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast (U of California Press, 1988); McGrath, "Metaphoric Subversions"; Sarah Beckwith, Christ's Body: Identity, Culture and Society in Late Medieval Writings (New York: Routledge, 1993); Nancy A. Gutierrez, 'Shall She Famish Then? Female Food Refusal in Early Modern England (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003).
(12) Keohane, "'That Blindest Weakness Be Not Over-Bold,'" 364.
(13) Schabert, "The Lady's Supper," 161.
(14) Biblical references are to the Geneva Bible (1599).
(15) Thomas Cranmer, A defence of the true and catholike doctrine of the sacrament of the body and bloud of our sauiour Christ (1550), 73. Early English Books Online.
(16) Thomas Cranmer, An aunswere by the Reuerend Father in God Thomas Archbyshop of Canterbury (1580), 69. Early English Books Online.
(17) Robert Crowley, A setting open of the subtyle sophistrie of Thomas Watson Doctor of Divinitie (1569), 85. Early English Books Online.
(18) The Book of Common Prayer (1559), ed. Brian Cummings (Oxford U. Press, 2011), 135, 131-32. This section of the Communion liturgy went unchanged in the 1604 edition under King James.
(19) Lee Palmer Wandel, The Eucharist in the Reformation (Cambridge U. Press, 2006), 12.
(20) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.17.5, 4.17.11, 4.17.24, trans. Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Press, 1989). See also Jaroslav Pelikan, Reformation of Church and Dogma, 1300-1700, vol. 4 of The Christian Tradition (U. of Chicago Press, 1983), 189-98; and Nicholas Wolterstorff, "John Calvin," in A Companion to the Eucharist in the Reformation, ed. Lee Palmer Wandel (Boston: Brill Press, 2014), 97-113.
(21) Huldrych Zwingli, Subsidiary Essay on the Eucharist, August 1525, vol. 2 of Writings: 500th Anniversary Volume, trans. H. Wayne Pipkin (Allison Park, PA: Pickwick Publications, 1984), 211. See also W. P. Stephens, The Theology of Huldrych Zwingli (Oxford U. Press, 1986), 240-42; and Carrie Euler, "Huldrych Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger," in Wandel A Companion to the Eucharist in the Reformation, 63, who cautions against generalizations about Zwingli's supposed "strict memorialism," arguing that "there was [for Zwingli] not only a physical similarity between the sign and the thing signified; there was also an emotional and spiritual connection," and that in later years he "inclined towards accepting Christ's spiritual presence in the bread and the wine."
(22) Describing the Protestant Eucharist as one of strict figuration leaves Martin Luther, arguably identified as the Father of the Reformation, as an outlier. According to Wandel, The Eucharist in the Reformation, the Lutheran Eucharist "was not figural, tropaic, metaphorical, symbolic--in anyway representative" (102). It is Luther's distinct theology of the Eucharist that leads Wandel and others to distinguish a Lutheran Eucharist from the Reformed Eucharist that characterized large portions of Protestant Europe. Jaroslav Pelikan, Reformation of Church and Dogma, 1300-1700, vol. 4 of The Christian Tradition (U. of Chicago Press, 1983), similarly separates Luther from other Protestants, "for there was more continuity between the medieval Eucharistic development and the Lutheran confessional position than there was between the latter and the Reformed teaching" (200).
(23) Wandel, The Eucharist in the Reformation, 175.
(24) Judith Anderson, Translating Investments: Metaphor and the Dynamics of Cultural Change in Tudor-Stuart England (Fordham U. Press, 2005), 48.
(25) Thomas More, Responsio Ad Lutherum, in The Complete Works of St. Thomas More, vol. 5, pt. 1, ed. John M. Headley, trans. Sister Scholastica Mandeville (Yale U. Press, 1969), 383.
(26) Thomas Cranmer, Disputations at Oxford (1549), in The Works of Thomas Cranmer, ed. John Edmund Cox, vol. 15 (1884), (New York: Johnson Reprint, 1968), 398.
(27) The supposed relationship between figurality and deception was replete in literary discourse, particularly in regard to poetry. For example, Stephen Gosson, The School of Abuse (1579), English Reprints no. 3 (Birmingham, Eng., 1868), calls poets "open liers" who "faine these frantike conceates to resemble somewhat els that they imagine, by speaking of one thing and thinking another" (68). Such accusations that poetry deceives and corrupts motivated Philip Sydney's Defense of Poesy (1595).
(28) Cranmer, Disputations at Oxford, 415.
(29) Thomas Cranmer, "An Answer to a Crafty and Sophistical Cavillation Devised by Stephen Gardiner," in Writings and Disputations of Thomas Cranmer Relative to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, ed. John Edmund Cox (Cambridge U. Press, 1844), 123.
(30) John Jewel, An Apology of the Church of England (Cornell U. Press, 1963), 30-31.
(31) For Lanyer's extensive use of deictics, see John Garrison, "Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum and the Production of Possibility," Studies in Philology 109.3 (2012): 290-310.
(32) For a representative Catholic perspective, see More, Responsio Ad Lutherum, 533-57.
(33) Kenneth Fincham and Nicholas Tyacke, Altars Restored: The Changing Face of English Religious Worship, 1547-C.1700 (Oxford U. Press, 2007), 1.
(34) Fincham and Tyacke, Altars Restored, 13-17, 51-55, 176-191. See also Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars (Yale U. Press, 1992), 472.
(35) David Aers and Sarah Beckwith, "The Eucharist," in Cultural Reformations: Medieval and Renaissance Literary History, ed. Brian Cummings and James Simpson (Oxford U. Press, 2010), 158.
(36) Beckwith, Christ's Body, 36.
(37) Timothy Rosendale, Liturgy and Literature in the Making of Protestant England (Cambridge U. Press, 2007), 99.
(38) The Second Tome of Homilies, "A Homily on the Worthy Receiving and Reverent Esteeming of the Sacrament" (1577), 409. Early English Books Online.
(39) Coiro, "Writing in Service," 373.
(40) The Second Tome of Homilies, "A Homily on the Worthy Receiving and Reverent Esteeming of the Sacrament" (1577), 411. Early English Books Online.
(41) For more on the influence and development of the Book of Common Prayer, see Ramie Targoff, Common Prayer: The Language of Public Devotion in Early Modern England (U. of Chicago Press, 2001); Rosendale, Liturgy and Literature in the Making of Protestant England: Daniel Swift, Shakespeare's Common Prayers: The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizabethan Age (Oxford U. Press, 2012); and Alan Jacobs, The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography (Princeton U. Press, 2013).
(42) Lisa Schnell, "So Great a Difference Is There in Degree": Aemilia Lanyer and the Aims of Feminist Criticism," Modern Language Quarterly 57.1 (1996): 35.
(43) For more on the relationship between these two sections, see Elaine V. Beilin, Redeeming Eve: Women Writers of the English Renaissance (Princeton U. Press, 1987); and Danielle Clarke, The Politics of Early Modern Women's Writing (London: Longman Press, 2001).
(44) Danielle Clarke, The Politics of Early Modern Women's Writing, 161.
(45) Wendy Wall, The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance (Cornell U. Press, 1993), 329.
(46) Martin Luther, Sermons on the Catechism, in Selections from His Writings, ed. John Dillenberge (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1962), 234.
(47) Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.14.17, 4.14.1.
(48) Richard Hooker, The Lawes of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book V, chap. 50.1, in The Folger Library Edition of the Works of Richard Hooker, vol. 1, ed. George Edelen (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1977).
(49) William Tyndale, An Answer Unto Sir Thomas Mores Dialoge, ed. Anne M. O'Donnell and Jared Wicks (Washington, DC: Catholic U. of America Press, 2000), 25.
(50) Rosendale, Liturgy and Literature in the Making of Protestant England, 107. Emphasis in original.
(51) Anderson, Translating Investments, 59.
(52) Mueller, "The Feminist Poetics of Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judeaorurn"; Micheline White, "A Woman with Saint Peter's Keys?: Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum' and the Priestly Gifts of Women," Criticism 45.3 (2004): 323-41; DiPasquale, Refiguring the Sacred Feminine, 137-149; Gary Kuchar, "Sad Delight"; and Yaakov Mascetti, "'Here I have prepard My Paschal Lambe.'"
(53) Mueller, "The Feminist Poetics of Aemilia Lanyer's 'Salve Deus Rex Judeaorurn,"' 211.
(54) Wall, The Imprint of Gender, 324.
(55) Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen, Pain and Compassion in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (Camridge: D.S. Brewer, 2012), 167.
(56) Esther Gilman Richey, "'To Undoe the Book': Cornelius Agrippa, Aemilia Lanyer and the Subversion of Pauline Authority," ELR 27 (1997): 113-14.
(57) Molekamp, "Reading Christ the Book," 312.
(58) Pelikan, Reformation of Church and Dogma, states, "It was alien to the Reformed way of teaching to draw ontological parallels between the Eucharist and the incarnation" (202).
(59) McGrath, "Metaphoric Subversions," 102.
(60) Barbara Lewalski, Writing Women in Jacobean England (Harvard U. Press, 1993), 219.
(61) Diane Purkiss, "Introduction," in Renaissance Women: The Plays of Elizabeth Cary and the Poems of Aemilia Lanyer, ed. Diane Purkiss (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1994), xxx.
(62) Constance Furey, "The Selfe Undone: Individualism and Relationality in John Donne and Aemilia Lanyer," The Harvard Theological Review 99 A (2006): 476.
(63) For the valences of "virtue" in Lanyer's work, see Sharon Cadman Seelig, "'To all virtuous Ladies in generall': Aemilia Lanyer's Community of Strong Women," Literary Circles and Cultural Communities in Renaissance England, ed. Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth (U. of Missouri Press, 2000), 44-58.
(64) For a particularly compelling reading of this section, see Coles, Religion Reform, and Women's Writing, who argues that Lanyer critiques the masculine literary economy by mentioning the very women that male writers like Shakespeare wrote about (170).
(65) For more on the imagery of sight in Salve Deus, see Edith Snook, Women, Reading and the Cultural Politics of Early Modern England (Aldershot: Ashgate Press, 2005); and Mascetti, '"Here I have prepar'd My Paschal Lambe"' and "'This Pretious Passeover Feed Upon': Poetic Eucharist and Feminine Vision in Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum," Religious Diversity and Early Modern English Texts, ed. Arthur F. Marotti and Chanita Goodblatt (Detroit: Wayne State U. Press, 2013), 251-81.
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|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Oct 18, 2017|
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