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Introduction Part I. Non poena sed causa: Martyrdom and the Hermeneutics of Controversy: 1. Controverting consciences 2. Too many brides: the interpretive community and ecclesiological controversy 3. Material witnesses Part II. Conflicting Testimonies in the English Literary Imagination 4. En route to the New Jerusalem: martyrdom and religious allegory 5. When the truth hurts: suffering and religious confidence in Robert Southwell and John Donne 6. The polemics of conscience in the history play 7. Martyrdom, nostalgia, and political engagement Conclusion: admiration and fear.