Martyrdom in a Merchant World: Law and Martyrdom in the Restoration Memoirs of Elizabeth Jekyll and Mary Love

  • Sue Wiseman
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


‘Something is branded in, so that it stays in the memory’, a philosopher observes, ‘only that which hurts incessantly is remembered’.1 In Restoration nonconformist political and religious memory martyrdom is the dominant figure for the ceaseless pain of the past, and its meanings in the present. Yet, for a memory to operate as a prompt to political action in the present it must be freed of some of its ties to the past — a branding in of memory involves, inevitably, a burning out of some details of the original event. Here I explore the legacy of an event from 1651, the treason trial and execution of the Presbyterian Christopher Love. My central texts are the narratives of two women, Elizabeth Jekyll and Mary Love. These texts, which I examine in some detail, seem to have had at least limited circulation after the Restoration. They offer a case study that we can use to consider, even re-evaluate, three interconnected issues: the place of the feminine voice in narrative produced by women in building Restoration nonconformist culture, the relationship between religious radicalism before and after the Restoration, and, more abstractly, the interconnection of law and narrative.


Political Culture Complete Collection Political Trial Glorious Revolution False Ceiling 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Sue Wiseman

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