The first English printed commonplace books and the rise of the common reader
in Formal matters
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Heather James examines late-sixteenth- and early- seventeenth-century printed commonplace books, a form which played a vital role in elevating the status of English vernacular literature. James shifts our focus from this form’s place in English literary history to its impact on political subjectivity. For James, late-Elizabethan printed commonplace books enabled innovations in the ‘politics of reading’ through their organization of decontextualised sentences grouped together by topic, modelling a form of political conversation on even the most incendiary of subjects (i.e., tyranny)

Formal matters

Reading the materials of English Renaissance literature


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