Couplets, commonplaces and the creation of history in The Famous Tragedie of King Charles I (1649) and Cromwell’s Conspiracy (1660)
in From Republic to Restoration
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This essay tracks the shift from Republic to Restoration through two play pamphlets, The Famous Tragedie (1649) and Cromwell’s Conspiracy (1660). As short plays retelling current events, these play pamphlets are like brief history plays that document the Stuart reign in an era of crisis. Moreover, these playbooks include typographically distinct couplets that encapsulate parliamentarian and royalist positions on history and governance. In particular, the royalist couplets in The Famous Tragedie mourn Charles I and gesture to future readers. These couplets are also marked as commonplaces, or sententious material intended for later use in other contexts. This chapter argues that these plays use couplets and commonplaces to create a royalist political history of the mid-seventeenth century.

From Republic to Restoration

Legacies and departures

Editor: Janet Clare

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