Philip Stubbes, the Anatomie of Abuses

Philip Stubbes, the Anatomie of Abuses

Philip Stubbes, the Anatomie of Abuses

Philip Stubbes, the Anatomie of Abuses

Excerpt

What little we know about the life of Philip Stubbes — and it is very little indeed — has mostly been surmised from the author's published works. At the beginning of The Anatomie of Abuses the character Philoponus mentions that he has led “the life of a poore Traueller, in a certaine famous Hand … called Anglia, wherein I haue liued these seuen winters and more, trauelling from place to place, euen all the land ouer indifferently” (211–16). Reading this information as autobiographical rather than as the literary device it probably is, and, further, assuming that Stubbes began this journey around England upon reaching his majority at the age of twenty-one, F. J. Furnivall works back from the date of the first publication of the Abuses in 1583 to suggest that Stubbes was born in the year 1555 (Abuses, ed. Furnivall “London, 1879”, 2:50, n. 2). Equally speculative reasoning lies behind the author's supposed date of death. Believing that Stubbes wrote nothing more after A Motiue to Good Workes in 1593, J. P. Collier concludes in the introduction to his edition of the Abuses that “we may presume, from various circumstances, that he was carried off by the plague, which raged in 1592” (Abuses, ed. Collier “London, 1870”, ii). But if we assume that the revised version of A perfect Pathway to Felicitie was enlarged by Stubbes just prior to its publication in 1610, and that it is not a reprint of an earlier, now lost, edition, then it seems likely that Stubbes lived well into the seventeenth century.

Attempts to identify Stubbes's parents and place of birth have met with even less success. Stubbes appears in the second edition of Anthony à Wood's Athenae Oxonienses (ed. and revised Bliss, 1813–1820). Here the claim is made that John Stubbes, the Protestant Englishman whose right hand was chopped off in punishment for writing The discouerie of a gaping gulf (1579) in opposition to the projected marriage between Queen Elizabeth I and the Duke of Anjou, was

Unless indicated otherwise, all references to the Abuses have been keyed to this
edition.

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