Naomi Conn Liebler Few scholars writing about early modern prose fiction have much to say about Richard Johnson. This is perhaps in part because until 2003,1 when Jennifer Fellows’ old-spelling edition appeared, access to his most important work, The Most Famous History of the Seven Champions of Christendom (Part 1: 1596; Part 2: 1597), was difficult (although this would not necessarily explain the neglect of Johnson’s other work). When noticed at all by modern critics, he is-at best-damned with faint praise.2 But The Seven Champions has much to interest and still amuse us if we look past its purple prose. With England’s patron saint and national icon as the central figure in a narrative pitched to a working-class and bourgeois readership, it immediately raises questions about its author’s choice of focus. St. George, though fictionalized, stands for a national spirit and as a metonymy for the English nation. The complicated domestication of a national icon, this St. George-identified from birth with the dragon he conquers at the start of his career-displays from time to time a brutality nearly indistinguishable from that of his foes; in this regard he is consistent with the romance tradition where heroes perform both well and ill. Whereas Spenser’s model was directed to an elite readership, Johnson’s work calls attention to itself as a working-man’s Faerie Queene, minus the allegory and the poetry: a non-elite paean to nation and nationalism for readers who, like its author, are often overlooked as movers and shapers of the idea of an English polity.