Gospelling Sisters and Women ‘Goinge up and Downe’: Foxe and his Detractors

  • Megan L. Hickerson


Foxe is often lauded by modern critics as the liberator of Askew’s Examinations for the simple fact of having reproduced them in the Acts and Monuments without Bale’s elucidation. In the quest for that rare commodity, the early modern, female voice, critics have tended both to read the first-person texts claimed as Askew’s against Bale’s elucidation of them in the early editions of the Examinations and to find in Foxe’s treatment of them a more liberated, less encumbered, female voice. In a recent article on Foxe’s editing of the Examinations for the Acts and Monuments, however, Thomas Freeman and Sarah Wall take issue with this sort of approach to the Examinations, arguing that far from providing a medium for Askew’s unencumbered self-expression, Foxe actively framed and modelled the Examinations such that he, as much as Bale before him, must be considered not as the presenter of her voice, but as a collaborator in the actual production of her testimony. Drawing attention to Foxe’s textual interventions into, and his aesthetic choices for shaping, the body of the Examinations, Freeman and Wall identify some of the material ways in which he ‘imprints his influence, his beliefs, and his politics all over Askew’s narrative’.2 In this they challenge the idea that Askew, as primary author, can be read against the intervention (or its lack) of either of her first two, male editors: as no autographed manuscript of any part of the Examinations survives, Askew can, as a discrete authorial voice, be contrasted neither to Bale nor to Foxe.


Female Voice Disorderly Behaviour Female Strength Sexual Guilt Female Erudition 
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© Megan L. Hickerson 2005

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  • Megan L. Hickerson

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