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Unpopular Literature? John Heywood’s The Spider and the Flie

Data publikacji: 21.12.2023

Terminus, 2023, Tom 25, zeszyt 4 (69), s. 387 - 403



Greg Walker
Department of English Literature, University of Edinburgh
, Wielka Brytania
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1276-6698 Orcid
Wszystkie publikacje autora →


This article examines an idiosyncratic, lavishly illustrated mid-Tudor English printed book, John Heywood’s The Spider and the Flie (1556), a book condemned both in the sixteenth century and since as incomprehensible and virtually unreadable. The article argues, rather, that the book’s gestation period was long and complex, but that, once this is understood, the book becomes readily comprehensible, in both its structure and implications. It looks briefly at evidence for ownership of the book, and then moves to discuss what it, along with Heywood’s collected volumes of proverbs and epigrams, can contribute to a discussion of early-modern popular literature, the subject of the UNA Europa funded network, Popular Respublica Litteraria, to which this article is a contribution.


Primary sources

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A Parable of the Spider and the Flie, Made by John Heywood, London: Thomas Powell, 1556.


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de la Bère, Rupert, John Heywood: Entertainer, London 1937.

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Hunt, Alice, ‘Marian Political Allegory: John Heywood’s The Spider and the Flie’, in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature, 1485–1603, eds Mike Pincombe and Cathy Shrank, Oxford 2009, pp. 337–353.

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Robison, William B., ‘More, Sir Christopher (b. in or before 1483, d. 1549), landowner and administrator’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 19 Dec. 2021, from https://www-oxforddnb-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-780198614128-e-77080.

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Informacje: Terminus, 2023, s. 387 - 403

Typ artykułu: Oryginalny artykuł naukowy



Unpopular Literature? John Heywood’s The Spider and the Flie



Greg Walker
Department of English Literature, University of Edinburgh
, Wielka Brytania
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1276-6698 Orcid
Wszystkie publikacje autora →

Department of English Literature, University of Edinburgh
Wielka Brytania

Publikacja: 21.12.2023

Status artykułu: Otwarte __T_UNLOCK

Licencja: CC BY  ikona licencji

Finansowanie artykułu:

This research received partial funding from a Una Europa network grant for which the author is very grateful.

Udział procentowy autorów:

Greg Walker (Autor) - 100%

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