George Gifford and the Reformation of the Common Sort: Puritan Priorities in Elizabethan Religious Life

By Timothy Scott McGinnis | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Starting a book and bringing it to completion leaves a person indebted on numerous fronts. Thanks go first to my graduate advisor, Peter Iver Kaufman, who directed the dissertation on which this work is based. I recall a meeting during my initial semester at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in which he suggested that my interests in the sixteenth century and early Christianity might be well served by looking at a curiously understudied English preacher who had a fondness for Augustine. Thus the beginning. In the ensuing years I was privileged to work with someone who was as comfortable talking and writing about the fifth century as the sixteenth, whose reputation among undergraduates as an engrossing lecturer inspired those of us who lacked some of his theatrical flair, and whose generosity was a constant draw to students, friends, and colleagues. If what follows makes any contribution to the study of early modern religious culture, it is due to his careful reading, consistent prodding, sage advice, and enthusiastic support.

Others offered regular support and guidance as well. Lance Lazar reminded me that studying early modern England required paying regular attention to the Continent. My preparation as a scholar and teacher owes much to his example, and my timely progress through graduate school was made easier by the many grants to which he directed me. Richtie Kendall enthusiastically welcomed an interloper to his course on early modern drama, and he kindly tolerated pointed questioning about puritanical concerns. Sarah Beckwith did the same in a wonderful interdisciplinary course on heresy and reform. Hans Hillerbrand graciously took on a dissertating student with a shared interest in religious dissent and popular culture. Karen Bruhn, George Demacopoulos, Julie Mell, Mike Pasquerello, and Edwin Tait listened to my early seminar papers on Gifford and were encouraging as only fellow students can be.

During the academic year 2000–2001 I participated in the Folger Shakespeare Library Colloquium “Puzzling Evidence: Literatures and Histories,” directed by David Scott Kastan and Peter Lake. David Kastan convened the group ably, and managed somehow to keep our musings on track and lead us past our disciplinary divisions. Peter Lake kindly agreed to read and comment on early drafts of some dissertation chapters, which are the better for his comments. I presented to the colloquium much of

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