Renaissance Studies: New Special Issue

Re-forming the Psalms in Tudor England (Vol. 29, no. 4, September 2015; Guest editor: Ruth Ahnert) contends that the Book of Psalms became a key site of cultural negotiation in the sixteenth century. By examining the ways the psalms were translated, appropriated, marketed, read, sung, annotated, and embellished, the essays show that psalms are an important witness to the religious, political and literary developments that took place in the sixteenth century. However, these uses of the psalms both complicate and contradict our assumptions about the drives underlying the English Reformation: in different contexts, the role of the psalms in devotion, literature, and music simultaneously argue for a narrative of continuity and of schism. By holding these positions in tension, this volume offers a nuanced understanding of the ambiguous and contradictory ways that reformation was manifested in Tudor society, troubling not only the dichotomies between medieval and Renaissance, Latinate and vernacular, Catholic and Protestant, but also  between secular and sacred.


[Renaissance Studies website]


Articles include:
  • Hannibal, Hamlin My Tongue Shall Speak: Doing the Psalms in Different Voices
  • Nicholas Temperley,  ‘All skillful praises sing’: How Congregations Sang the Psalms in Early Modern England
  • Micheline White, The Psalms, War, and Royal Iconography: Katherine Parr’s Psalms or Prayers (1544) and Henry VIII as David    
  • James Simpson, The Psalms and Threat in Sixteenth-Century English Court Culture
  • William T. Rossiter, What Wyatt Really Did to Aretino’s Sette Salmi
  • Clare Costley King'oo, William Hunnis and the Success of the Seven Sobs
  • Deirdre Serjeantson, The Book of Psalms and the Early-Modern Sonnet
  • Michele Osherow, Mary Sidney’s Embroidered Psalms
  • Beth Quitslund, The Tudor Legacy


Ruth Ahnert is Lecturer in Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London, and author of The Rise of Prison Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, 2013).