Abstract only
Tobias B. Hug

5287P IMPOSTURES MUP-PT/lb.qxd 14/10/09 15:12 Page 130 Chapter 7 . Gentleman impostors e encountered characters such as Arthur Dudley, the pretended offspring of Elizabeth and Leicester. Nearly a century later the Duke of Monmouth, Charles II’s illegitimate son, saw himself as the legitimate heir to the crown. These episodes occurred within the context of political insecurity. Rather different are cases which derived from the ruptures of family lines, especially of wealthy and propertied gentry families. Conservative moralists had long been engaged in

in Impostures in early modern England
Abstract only
Tobias B. Hug

5287P IMPOSTURES MUP-PT/lb.qxd 14/10/09 15:12 Page 110 Chapter 6 . Ethnic impostors n 1703, a young man appeared in London, claiming to be a native of Formosa, and presented to the Royal Society an entire cultural and geographical description of a remote civilisation. How was it possible to succeed in pretending to be of a different ethnicity and engage members of the Society and the wider public for a considerable time? A category of ‘ethnic impostors’ might come as a surprise, for there was hardly a clear concept of ethnicity in the early modern period

in Impostures in early modern England
Tobias B. Hug

5287P IMPOSTURES MUP-PT/lb.qxd 14/10/09 15:12 Page 48 Chapter 3 . Quacks – all notorious medical impostors? ccording to contemporary accounts, quacks swarmed throughout the country.1 It is not surprising that itinerant practitioners selling herbal mixtures, quintessences, stones and amulets, merged in the mind of the authorities with vagrants, those, for instance, described in the Elizabethan Act of 1572 as ‘fayninge themselves to have knowledge in Phisnomye, Palmestrye, and other abused Scyences’, or the ‘Juglers, Pedlars, Tynkers and Petye Chapmen’.2 But

in Impostures in early modern England
Tobias B. Hug

5287P IMPOSTURES MUP-PT/lb.qxd 14/10/09 15:12 Page 64 Chapter 4 . Prophets and visionaries, possessed and exorcists – all religious impostors? he occurrence of religious individuals who claimed spiritual power and thought themselves prophets, exorcists or healers is not a peculiarity of the early modern period, but rather a transhistorical and transcultural phenomenon.1 Plato, for instance, writes in the Republic of ‘[m]endicant priests and soothsayers’, and Origen in Contra Celsum of ‘sorcerers who profess to do wonderful miracles’.2 The Bible warns of

in Impostures in early modern England
Representations and perceptions of fraudulent identities
Author: Tobias B. Hug

Impostors and impostures featured prominently in the political, social and religious life of early modern England. Who was likely to be perceived as impostor, and why? This book offers a full-scale analysis of this multifaceted phenomenon. Using approaches drawn from historical anthropology and micro-history, it investigates changes and continuities within the impostor phenomenon from 1500 to the late eighteenth century, exploring the variety of representations and perceptions of impostors, and their deeper meanings within the specific contexts of social, political, religious, institutional and cultural change. The book examines a wide range of sources, from judicial archives and other official records to chronicles, newspapers, ballads, pamphlets and autobiographical writings. Given that identity is never fixed, but involves a performative dimension, changing over time and space, it looks at the specific factors which constitute identity in a particular context, and asks why certain characteristics of an allegedly false identity were regarded as fake.

Abstract only
Tobias B. Hug

5287P IMPOSTURES MUP-PT/lb.qxd 14/10/09 15:13 Page 204 Conclusion . he well-known impostors who had hitherto received scholarly attention form only the tip of the iceberg, and sampling a range of archival sources has brought to light a vast body of additional and significant material. By exploring the nature of imposture in many different contexts, this book has adopted a new approach to the study of individualism and self-fashioning, in the context of popular culture. Early modern English men and women regarded a wide range of activities as impostures. The

in Impostures in early modern England
Abstract only
Tobias B. Hug

was of moderate social origin.1 This book explores many other stories of individuals who pretended to be someone else or of a higher social status. The impostor, it appears, was a familiar figure in early modern England. Yet not all the people in this survey share the conspicuous characteristics of the polygamist above, which resemble some of those of the contemporary conman and are likely to strike a chord with the modern reader. So who was likely to be perceived as an impostor in early modern England, and why? In addressing these questions this book offers the

in Impostures in early modern England
Tobias B. Hug

VI to James II, and the calendars of assize records, reveal a number of cases of people who claimed bogus authorisation or pretended to be figures of authority, either as state or parish officials. In a recent study of the Westminster quarter sessions between 1685 and 1720, Jennine Hurl-Eamon stated that ‘before 1685, almost no London impostors chose to act as parish officials’, which is ‘in direct contrast to the 1685–1720 material, where many of the “official” acts of the impostors were in keeping with those of local officials’. She argued that the impostors

in Impostures in early modern England
Tobias B. Hug

modern period, and took a very wide range of forms.4 However, we must clearly distinguish political impostors from those who claimed the role of ‘king’ in a much wider range of contexts. As we have seen, pseudo-prophets often proclaimed themselves king, such as William Hacket, or Thomas Tany, who claimed the crowns of England, France, Naples, Rome and Jerusalem; even James Nayler, the Quaker leader, called himself ‘King of Israel’, though he did not have political ambitions. None of these, however, impersonated royal figures. The mock king, a figure who occurs in many

in Impostures in early modern England
Tobias B. Hug

beggar or vagrant. It may thus, especially with regard to the earlier reports, point to a sharpened awareness of a wide range of identity features; moreover, the body reveals good or bad character. It is striking that the discourse of fraudulent beggars flags up a number of themes, many of which will play a significant role throughout our exploration of early modern impostors. There is: i) an understanding of deception as primarily a wicked (destructive or threatening) phenomenon; ii) attempts to categorise and classify human beings, connected to a desire to detect

in Impostures in early modern England