Less well known than the works of William Tyndale, A proper dyaloge betwene a Gentillman and an Husbandman is an important Reformation tract that articulates many of the major complaints of the early English Protestant reformers and captures them in a dramatic way through the medium of dialogue. It was designed to expose various manifestations of clerical abuse and act as a wake-up call to the laity - kings, gentlemen, and farmers alike - to play close attention to this malfeasance. The lengthy dialogue between a gentleman and a husbandman, or farmer, is actually a hybrid text that reinterprets history, rewriting it to support decidedly Protestant goals.
A proper dyaloge was published twice: the second version, the basis of this edition, appeared in 1530, only months after the publication of the first, which appeared probably in late 1529. New material, plus a new, more aggressive tone mark the transition from one to another. The probable Lutheran authors borrow from a Lollard tract to demonstrate the continuity between Lollard and Lutheran thinking, at least on the matter of clerical worldliness, and to show that the claims made against the clergy by both the gentleman and husbandman are not new but part of a long-standing tradition. Following the two-part dialogue is a final prose piece: A compendious olde treatyse, whic argues the case for a vernacular version of the Bible.
A proper dyaloge is important within the context of reformation literature for a number of reasons: it establishes links between Lollard and early sixteenth-century reformist thought; the issue of editor/authorship and censorship is crucial since much of the second edition deviates from the original version; and it is an excellent introduction to early Protestant critiques of the Church.