Robert Barnes (1495-1540) was perhaps the most important sixteenth-century English Protestant reformer after William Tyndale. The shifting religious and political views of Henry VIII positioned Barnes at the opposite end of the popular ideology of the day, culminating in his execution in 1540 soon after that of Thomas Cromwell.A Supplication Vnto the Most Gracyous Prince Kynge Henry The. VIIJ., the first edition of which appeared in 1531 during Barnes's German exile, was a controversial lament for the religious climate in England and an earnest argument in favour of reform.
In this critical edition, Douglas H. Parker compares all extant versions of the text published in the sixteenth century, focusing on the differences between the 1531 and 1534 editions. Parker argues that the differences between versions can be explained by Barnes's increasing sensitivity to the unstable theological climate under Henry VIII as well as to the author's attempt to curry favour with the English government in 1534. This critical volume includes the entire 1534 edition of A Supplication, a biographical sketch of Barnes, a bibliographical introduction, a glossary of arcane words, and an appendix that features the 1531 edition, giving readers the chance to make their own comparison.
This work is a long over-due study of one of the most fascinating and prescient texts to emerge from the Protestant Reformation.