Key works printed between 1530 - 1533

Here be vii Dialogues. The fryst is of the sone and the Moone. The seconde of Saturne and of the Clowde. The iii of the Sterre named Transmontana and the other sterres. The iii of the euyn Sterre and the morowsterre. The v of the Raynebowe and the sygne Cancer. The vi Heaven and of the Earth. The vii of the Eyre and of the wynde.

All the dialogues comprise of a short story - for example of the Moon trying to supplant the Sun, the Moon attacking the Sun, helped by the Stars, their defeat and the Son's victory - followed by a proverb - followed by a moral explanation. Although the detail of the stories is different the basic ethos is always the same - one side wants to rise up or change the natural order and finds that this is not possible. All the stories illustrate the danger of pride and the impossibility of change.

The Four Elements, John Rastell.

This is a much earlier interlude then Play of the Weather but it was printed in c.1530 The title page reads - A new interlude and a mery of the nature of the iii elements declarynge many proper poynts of phylosophy naturall and of dyuers straunge landys, and of dyuers straunge effects and causes, which interlude iff the whole matter be played wyll conteyne the sapce of an hour and a halfe, but iff ye lyst ye may leue out muche of the sad mater ... and than it wyll not be paste the quarters of an hour of length.

This note suggests two things in relation to printed interludes like The Play of the Weather. The first is that there was an expectation that they would be brought in order to be performed. The other thing it suggests, however, is that interludes could be seen as legitimate sources of information. In this context, and given the publication of numerous works discussing the weather, it maybe that the publication of The Play of the Weather was not political but was rather simply a question of exploiting the play's title in order to encourage people to buy it and find out about the weather.

Key works published in 1532.

The determinations of the most famous and moste excellent universities of Italy and Fraunce that it so unlawfull for a man to marie his brothers wyfe that the pope hath no power to dispense therwith.

May have been published in 1531.

The dialogue betwene Julius the seconde, Genius and Saynt Peter, Erasmus.

This work was published anonymously, but we now know Erasmus was the author. It is a witty and vicious attack on Julius. The title page tells the reader that they should, 'refrayne from laughynge' but this is impossible. For example, there is a particularly funny moment when Julius can not understand why he can not get into heaven. Alongside the humour, however, this work also contains a radical attack on Julius in particular, and more generally on the worldly behaviour of the Church.

A Myler of Abymgton.

A version of the Reeve's Tale - more simplistic and less violent.

Pype of the lyfe of perfection, Richard Whytford.

This is a devotional work that explicitly attacks heresy ( Protestantism ). It is a reprint of an earlier work. The 1532 edition that the British Library has is bound with the arms of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. It is unclear if the binding is original but if it is that would be an interesting statement. It would suggest a very clear linking by someone of Henry's first marriage with religious orthodoxy.

An instruction for to lerne to rede, to pronouce, and to speake French truely.

Claims to be compiled for Mary Tudor - in preparation for her marriage?

Guyslaude and Sygysmonde.

Romance poem with woodcuts - particularly striking one of the entrance of the cave through which Guyslaunde visited Sygysmonde. The prologue suggests that the poem and in particular the example of Sygysmonde illustrates the dangers of female idleness with is a theme repeated in The Play of the Weather around the figure of The Gentlewoman.

A glasse of the truthe.

This is the official public defence of Henry's divorce. It argues that Henry wanted a divorce entirely because of his concern that in marrying his brother's widow he had committed a sin and that this was why he and Catherine had not had any living male children. A 'glasse' suggests that Henry was motivated by a selfless desire to protect the country from the dangers of a disputed succession.

Enormytes usyd by the Clergy.

This is potentially a key work in relation to The Play of the Weather. The use of 'enormities' in Jupiter's first speech in relation to violent debate echoes precisely the polemical agenda of this work which is written to defend the realm of England and in particular Henry's lay subjects against the clergy's slanders. In particular, Enormytes is attack on what it claims is the clergy's tendency to attack and preach against small offences / heresies while not mentioning far greater offences, principally simony, which the Enormytes claims, the clergy have committed. The Enormytes states that the Pope is a heretic and that, 'the correction of all ... enormytes in the clergy of this realm belongeth to the kings hyghnes as to his secular power'. The whole tract amounts to a polemical defence of the role that Jupiter takes on in The Play of the Weather.

A Treaties concernynge the division betwene the spiritualitie and temporalitie, St German.

Includes a table at the end setting out the reasons for the division which not surprisingly are shown to be largely the fault of the clergy.

Praise of matrymony, Erasmus, trans. Richard Tavernour.

Dedicated to Thomas Cromwell.

A sermon made by Erasmus.

The title page shows Bathsheba and David - which in More's work is a possible reference to Henry and Anne. The sermon, however, is on John 2.

The maner of the tryumphe at Calays and Bulleyn.

This is an account of Henry's, and Anne's, visit to France in the autumn of 1532. Two almost identical editions were printed. Given the date of the publication it may well be the case that this short pamphlet was intended to spread news immediately after Henry's return. It is not obvious why there were two editions - but clearly the detail contained in this pamphlet was considered so important as to warrant the expense of producing a revised second edition. The changes in the second edition are all directed towards stressing the magnificence of the meeting, the extent to which Francis and Henry were equals and the amount of gift giving that went on. The second edition also includes a listing on the back of the title page of names of the noble men of France who attended the meeting.

Here after foloweth the first dyalogue in Englysh betwyxte a Doctor of Diuinite and a Student in the Lawes of Englande.

This work is a detailed discussion of the 'history' of England's laws. Clearly intended for people who were already interested in these matters

Dyuers fruitful gatheringes of scrypture concernyng fayth and workes ( Patricks Plases ).

Anti-clerical opening. The text is literally a collection of Biblical quotes separated into two parts - Hope and Works - with the latter being more polemical and more discursive.

The remors of conscyence.

Poem. A dialogue between Man / Homo and God / Deus. During the dialogue each character as a full page of speech.

The Salisbury Primer.

Includes almanac, prayers, psalms and extracts from the Bible, also numerous woodcuts.

Confutation of Tyndale's Answer, Thomas More.

This is the first part of a very long work. It is a detailed attack on Tyndale and more generally what More thought were Protestant heresies. It includes a complex discussion of the story of David and Bathsheba in which More argues against Luther and Tyndale, that David was in a state of sin when he lusted for Bathsheba but then when he repented he was saved. It is possible that More's discussion of this Old Testament episode is a coded message to Henry.

The Crossrowe or A.B.C, Saint Bonaventura.

This is a work of practical devotional. It works through the entire alphabet providing individual words - for example - Custody - 'Custody of harte doth than folowe that is to say close keping of the mynde from all wauerynge, voyde and vayne thoughts. And lykwyse the mouthe froma all voyde speche and ydle wordes: so also of all v wyttes herynge, seyng, smellyng, tastyng and touchyng, all to be subdued and gouerned under the rygour of discipline and religious behauyour'. Although this sounds pretty extreme it is actually fairly standard of the kind of advice offered in devotional works aimed at religious and lay readers.

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited William Thynne and Sir Brian Tuke.

See the discussion of this volume in Greg Walker's study Writing under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation (2007).

There is a specific woodcut for the Miller. There is also a woodcut of the Merchant, but this is a shared woodcut with, among others, the Summoner, Franklin and Manciples - although note all these are characters whose status is a bit unclear. The General Prologue is divided in this edition into discrete sections which suggests a particular interest in estates satire and might have provided a very clear context for the audience's understanding of class / estate in The Play of the Weather. The only woodcuts are on the title page and for some of the pilgrims.

An answere that by no maner of lawe it maye be lawfull for the moste noble Kinge of englande ... to be diuorced from the quenes grace, Thomas Abell.

This is a work that answers point by point Henry's case for this divorce, and in particular the Determination of the Universities. It is almost unreadable. Certainly one needs to know the detail of the case for the divorce to make sense of Abell's work. Reading this work there is a sense that it could go on for ever - a kind of reductive meaningless point scoring. In these terms it is similar to the debate between the two Millers. Indeed it is possible that one of the Millers is More and the other Tyndale?

The fruyte of redempcyon.

Prayers and prose focused upon the redemption of humanity by / through Christ. This work is basically a retelling of Christ's life (in the tradition of Nicholas Love's Mirror of Christ's Life) concentrating on his childhood and, in great detail, his death. There is very little on Christ's ministry.

Key works published in 1533.

Enchiridion Militis Christiani, Eramus, trans. William Tyndale?

Probably not translated by Tyndale. Classic work of humanist religious writing. Its central theme is the need to turn from what Erasmus constructs as the external or literal Christianity of the fifteenth century to an internal or spiritual Christianity. Erasmus' text is not Protestant, but it was very popular among English Protestants. Its message is orthodox but its implication is that at the centre of a Christian's life should be a personal engagement with Christ's teaching not involvement in / with the Church.

Confutation of Tyndale's Answer, Thomas More.

This is the second part of the work.

Apology, Thomas More.

Despite the title this is less a defence of More's action as Chancellor and more an extended attack on the work of St German's Treatise Concerning the Division between the spiritualitie and temporalitie.

Old Christmas, John Rastell.

An interlude. Characters - Good order, Ryot, Old Christmas, Glotonye and Prayer. Only a very small section is existent.

Good Order: Than syrs take hede to your iudgement / My mayster Crystmas as here present / Proclaymeth your traytours openly / That is to say Ryot and Glotony / Unthryfty hazarder and periury / Commaundaynge you shortely euerychons / In all haste to voyde thys regyon / And who so euer returneth agayne / Wythout any grace he shall be slayne.

From this short extract it seems clear that Old Christmas may well have been a relatively traditional moral interlude in which, presumably, Ryot and Glotonye initially seduce Christmas who then learns the error of his ways and banishes them from his court.