Voices of the English Reformation: A Sourcebook

By John N. King | Go to book overview

3.4. William Baldwin, from
Beware the Cat (c. 1553, pub. 1570)

The Marvelous History Entitled Beware the Cat supports the ban on the Roman-rite Mass during Edward VI’s reign, a time when William Baldwin (1518–63?) flourished as a writer, printer, and preacher. His familiarity with the London printing trade informs the description of the printing house of John Day, the printer, where Gabriel Streamer regaled companions with tales about cats at the outset of the reign of Mary I (see Figure 7). Because this time was inhospitable to the publication of Protestant satire, it remained in manuscript until 1570. During the 1550s and early 1560s, Baldwin occupied himself with editing A Mirror for Magistrates, a collection of de casibus tragedies that influenced Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Mixing genres such as proverb, tale, oration, and beast fable, Beware the Cat incorporates seriocomic notes that mock Streamer’s absurd retelling of testimony delivered by a cat named Mouse-slayer when she was accused before a feline tribunal of violating the feline law of promiscuity. Her picaresque wanderings enabled her to witness forbidden Catholic ceremonies, thereby providing an ironic vision of resistance to official religious policy during the Edwardian reformation. This tale assimilates antifeminist lore, ribald humor associated with fabliaux, and Protestant hostility to devotion to the Virgin Mary and Church of Rome as sheltering “mothers.”

When William Baldwin and several companions joined in production of the Christmas revels at the court of Mary I, they engaged in dispute with Gabriel Streamer concerning the question of whether animals are capable of reason. As proof for his belief in the rationality of animals, Streamer told this fantastic story about his encounter with talking cats when he lodged at the printing house of John Day, the London printer.

SOURCE AND EDITION: Baldwin 1988, pp. 9–11, 36–41, 46–53. Reprinted with the permission of the Henry E. Huntington Library.

REFERENCES: Terence N. Bowers, “The Production and Communication of Knowledge in William Baldwin’s Beware the Cat: Toward a Typographic Culture,” Criticism 33 (1991): 1–29; Hadfield; King 1982.

Being lodged (as, I thank him, I have been often) at a friend’s house of mine, which, more roomish within than garish without, standeth at Saint Martin’s Lane end and hangeth partly upon the town wall that is called Aldersgate….

While I lay at the foresaid house for the causes aforesaid, I was lodged in a chamber hard by the printing house, which had a fair bay window opening into the garden, the earth whereof is almost as high as Saint Anne’s Church top, which standeth thereby. At the other end of the printing house, as you enter in, is a side door and three or four steps which go up to the leads1 of the Gate, whereas sometime quarters of men,2 which is a loathely and

-152-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Voices of the English Reformation: A Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 394

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.