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Writing, politics, and culture in England, 1639– 89

Aesthetics of contingency provides an important reconsideration of seventeenth-century literature in light of new understandings of the English past. Emphasising the contingency of the political in revolutionary England and its extended aftermath, Matthew Augustine challenges prevailing literary histories plotted according to structural conflicts and teleological narrative. In their place, he offers an innovative account of imaginative and polemical writing, in an effort to view later seventeenth-century literature on its own terms: without certainty about the future, or indeed the recent past. In hewing to this premise, the familiar outline of the period – with red lines drawn at 1642, 1660, or 1688 – becomes suggestively blurred. For all of Milton’s prophetic gestures, for all of Dryden’s presumption to speak for, to epitomise his Age, writing from the later decades of the seventeenth century remained supremely responsive to uncertainty, to the tremors of civil conflict and to the enduring crises and contradictions of Stuart governance.

A study of major writings from the Personal Rule to the Glorious Revolution and beyond, this book also re-examines the material conditions of literature in this age. By carefully deciphering the multi-layered forces at work in acts of writing and reception, and with due consideration for the forms in which texts were cast, this book explores the complex nature of making meaning in and making meaning out of later Stuart England.

Robert M. Bliss

context established by these debates will help us to understand why colonists saw the Plantations Act of 1650 as far more intrusive and threatening than the more famous Navigation Act of 1651. However, there were countervailing forces at work. Colonies, as parts of the ancien régime , enjoyed some protection, and not merely because revolutionary England became, soon enough, Restoration England. There were

in Revolution and empire
Revising Religio Medici in the English Revolution
Matthew C. Augustine

’s ‘Masterpeece’ in relation to the aesthetics of contingency, this chapter builds on recent work while also claiming a place for Browne within the ambit of a wider literary history. I begin by re-examining the relations between and among writing, politics, and class in revolutionary England, emphasising the lability of the ideological context in which Religio Medici was first published and read, admired and animadverted. While we are right to think of the text’s publication as an ‘event’, in order to gauge its import, we need to avoid reductionist accounts of civil war

in Aesthetics of contingency
Religion, politics and the past in post-revolutionary England

Reformation without end reinterprets the English Reformation. No one in eighteenth-century England thought that they lived during ‘the Enlightenment’. Instead, they thought that they still faced the religious, intellectual and political problems unleashed by the Reformation, which began in the sixteenth century. They faced those problems, though, in the aftermath of two bloody seventeenth-century political and religious revolutions.

This book is about the ways the eighteenth-century English debated the causes and consequences of those seventeenth-century revolutions. Those living in post-revolutionary England conceived themselves as living in the midst of the very thing which they thought had caused the revolutions: the Reformation. The reasons for and the legacy of the Reformation remained hotly debated in post-revolutionary England because the religious and political issues it had generated remained unresolved and that irresolution threatened more civil unrest. For this reason, most that got published during the eighteenth century concerned religion. This book looks closely at the careers of four of the eighteenth century’s most important polemical divines, Daniel Waterland, Conyers Middleton, Zachary Grey and William Warburton. It relies on a wide range of manuscript sources, including annotated books and unpublished drafts, to show how eighteenth-century authors crafted and pitched their works.

Jason Peacey

This chapter is a study of the relationships between Parliament, print and petitioning in revolutionary England. Jason Peacey explores the tension between the potential for political participation at Westminster and the problems related to this practice, and argues that this tension allows for a better understanding of political radicalism in the English Revolution. His essay rests on two foundations: first, the idea that an information revolution relating to Parliament developed in the seventeenth century, which made political information affordable; second, a sense that Parliament was extremely useful, hence citizens’ increased participation in its proceedings, not least through petitioning. Peacey highlights the radicalisation of petitioners’ rhetoric from case studies and argues that that radicalism was forged by forces that brought together disparate individuals whose ideas were shaped by their involvement in participatory politics.

in Radical voices, radical ways
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Samuel Gorton, Gerrard Winstanley, and the London roots of transatlantic revolutionary religion
David R. Como

This chapter investigates the shadowy world of transoceanic religious practices by reconstructing the milieu that produced two of the most notorious radical dissidents of the seventeenth-century Anglophone world: Samuel Gorton, one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Rhode Island, and Gerrard Winstanley, the intellectual leader of England’s ‘Digger’ movement, which captured the attention of revolutionary England with its calls for changes to the private property regime. Beginning with a reconstruction of the characteristic religious practices of the London neighbourhood that was home to both men, the chapter examines hitherto unknown manuscript evidence to offer new insight into the structural conditions and personal networks that likely shaped their distinctive and original (but not dissimilar) theological and political activities. Indeed, although Gorton left for New England in the 1630s, it will be demonstrated that tantalizing personal ties can be established between the two men, suggesting that observable similarities in their politico-religious practices may have been more than merely accidental. The chapter thus chronicles the movement and evolution of heterodox religious practices from the microscopic level of the London parish to the much more sweeping canvas of transoceanic empire, charting the tangled process by which two obscure London tradesmen forged patterns of theological inquiry and social interaction that have continued to fascinate scholars on both sides of the Atlantic down to the present day

in Political and religious practice in the early modern British world
Religious and political celebrity in post-revolutionary England
Brian Cowan

. 15 But their actions as religious leaders and political actors garnered enough public attention that they would become famous; furthermore, their public personas became a form of public property, readily identifiable enough that they could be usefully appropriated by others as part of the vociferous propaganda wars that characterized post-revolutionary England. 16 The practice of ‘celebrification’ through which Hoadly and Sacheverell emerged as celebrities was one that involved their publics more so than the

in Political and religious practice in the early modern British world
Subscriptional activity during the civil wars
Edward Vallance

), p. 250. 4 S. Mendelson and P. Crawford, Women in Early Modern England, 1550–1720 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 399; J. Walter, ‘The English people and the English Revolution revisited’, p. 179; Vallance, Revolutionary England and the National Covenant: State Oaths, Protestantism and the Political Nation: 1553–1682 (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2005), p. 110. 5 D. Zaret, ‘Petitioning places and credibility of opinion in the public sphere of

in Loyalty, memory and public opinion in England, 1658–​1727
Abstract only
Elliot Vernon

liturgical prayer during the English revolution’, Historical Research , 79:203 (2006), 50–73; J. Maltby, ‘“Extravagencies and impertinencies”: set forms, conceived prayer and extemporary prayer in revolutionary England’ in Worship and the parish church in early modern Britain , eds N. Mears and A. Ryrie (Farnham, 2013), pp. 221–43. See also my ‘Godly pastors and their congregations in mid-seventeenth century London’ in Davies, Dunan-Page and Halcomb, Church life, pp. 45–62. 7 Ann Hughes

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64
Elliot Vernon

–31. 24 C. Condren, Argument and authority in early modern England: the presupposition of oaths and offices (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 295–7. 25 Vallance, Revolutionary England , pp. 161–2. 26 [Nathaniel Ward], The grand case of conscience stated (1649), p. 3. 27 [Nathaniel Ward], A religious demurrer concerning submission to the present power (1649), p. 7; I. M. Smart, ‘Liberty and authority: the political ideas of

in London presbyterians and the British revolutions, 1638–64