‘Though a temporall man, yet your very spirituall father’: The Roper/Basset Line and the Lives of Thomas More
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The first three chapters of this book focus upon the family of Thomas More and the discursive formation that defined the group for over 150 years. The extensive and prolonged influence of More upon his descendants and their writings necessitates a division of the material into cognate areas. Three distinct strands within the overall familial discourse are identifiable: the perpetuation of More’s reputation through a series of ‘lives’, the preservation of More’s writings through publication and the replication of More’s spiritual experience through retreat into a cloistered existence. These separate endeavours were roughly divided between the branches of the More family: the Roper/Bassets focus on biography, the Rastell/Heywoods published More’s works and the More/ Cresacres retreated from material and worldly concerns. The following three chapters excavate this overlap between bloodlines and spiritual mission, situating the traces within the successive historical circumstances of the development of the More familial discourse. At the same time, it is essential to understand that the tripartite focus on maintaining and sustaining Thomas More’s influence is evidenced throughout the family’s endeavours, and the conclusion to Chapter 3 brings the various elements and their expressions together.
KeywordsSpiritual Experience Early Modern Period Woman Writer Discursive Formation English Work
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