"Turne Backe the Leaves":

Selected English Renaissance Religious Writing

General Introduction

This edition of sixteenth and seventeenth century religious writing is the result of a collaborative honours seminar at the University of Saskatchewan in 2002-2003. The student editors are Sandra Gorsalitz, Calista Lightfoot, Amie Shirkie, Gloria Simpson, Karen Smith, Alana Trumpy, and Tyler Young. Members of the seminar selected works by seven early modern English religious writers, most of which are unavailable in twentieth-century editions. The objective was to make available a richer selection of early modern English religious expression than is contained in readily accessible anthologies and collected works. Each of these writers is prominent enough to have attracted the notice of historians and biographers, though the texts chosen have received little sustained attention from literary scholars.

Early on, the requirement to work from microfilm copies of individual early printed editions, and the impossibility of travelling to research libraries to collect and collate textual variants, led our team to resolve on a documentary edition. As a result our edition captures some idiosyncrasies of the particular printings consulted, and occasionally sacrifices readability (or plain sense) in the name of fidelity. We have, however, made one significant concession to readability, in modernizing the letters i, j, u and v. The distortion created by this seemingly modest intervention is evident in the text of Alexander Fleming's School of Skill, an alphabet of proverbs based on the early modern alphabet. In the case of Fleming we have retained the archaic characters where circumstances were compelling.

Since the goal of this project is to make available texts that have not previously been accessible in print, outside of large academic libraries, we welcome non-commercial reproduction of our work, for educational and scholarly purposes, provided the original editors are properly acknowledged.

Ronald. W. Cooley
University of Saskatchewan