Lynn Robson
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‘O this dark dungeon!’
Murderers, martyrs and the ‘sacred space’ of the early modern prison
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This essay examines how early modern prisons in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries could sometimes serve as sacred spaces. Through an engagement with elite and popular texts, this research draws the frequent connection between profane incarceration and the consecration of space achieved by an individual’s pious actions: self-examination, religious conversation, praying, reading and writing. It further posits that prison texts themselves, that recorded these devotions, might have been read more than other traditional Protestant works, thus propelling godliness across thresholds: from the prison into the booksellers, and finally into the home.

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People and piety

Protestant devotional identities in early modern England


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