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"Break Down The Walls Of Flesh": Anna Trapnel, John James, And Fifth Monarchist Self-Representation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines Trapnel’s writings alongside representations of the Fifth Monarchist John James, executed for treason following his alleged involvement in an uprising in 1661, whose experiences are related in the anonymous tract A Narrative of the Apprehending, Commitment, Arraignment, Condemnation and Execution of John James. Paralleling Trapnel’s self-constructions, James is depicted in the tract relating his story as passive, weak, self-alienated and self-abnegating. Through emphasising James’s helplessness, the author locates him within a tradition of martyrological representation where victimisation and physical weakness operate as the grounds for spiritual triumph. Trapnel’s emphasis on her sufferings is likewise generated within a martyrological framework, suggesting the significance of motifs of martyrdom for Fifth Monarchist self-representation more generally.

Keywords: fifth monarchist; John James; martyrological representation; spiritual triumph; Trapnel’s writings



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