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Manuscript Circulation and the Invention of Politics in Early Stuart England


Part of Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History

  • Date Published: November 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107543737

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About the Authors
  • In the decades before the Civil War, English readers confronted an extensive and influential pamphlet literature. This literature addressed contemporary events in scathingly critical terms, was produced in enormous quantities and was devoured by the curious. Despite widespread contemporary interest and an enormous number of surviving copies, this literature has remained almost entirely unknown to scholars because it was circulated in handwriting rather than printed with movable type. Drawing from book history, the sociology of knowledge and the history of political thought, Noah Millstone provides the first systematic account of the production, circulation and reception of these manuscript pamphlets. By placing them in the context of social change, state formation, and the emergence of 'politic' expertise, Millstone uses the pamphlets to resolve one of the central problems of early Stuart history: how and why did the men and women of early seventeenth-century England come to see their world as political?

    • Presents the first account of the large and important, but mostly unknown, political pamphlet literature from the pre-Civil War era
    • Provides a narrative of early Stuart political history that differs in several major points from available standard treatments
    • Uses a practice-based approach to political history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this learned and impressive book, Millstone provides scholars with such a survey [of scribal pamphleteering in the early Stuart era] and, more importantly, a persuasive argument about the different ways in which the circulation of manuscript pamphlets created, shaped and informed early modern English men and women's participation in and interpretation of politics … a groundbreaking contribution to the study of manuscripts, politics, and practices of dissemination and interpretation. To offer a thorough account of the nature and circulation of key scribal pamphlets in early seventeenth-century England is a significant contribution to scholarship, to simultaneously provide new ways of thinking about the invention of politics in the period is a remarkable achievement.' Alison Searle, Renaissance Studies

    'Millstone offers a series of compelling arguments about the nature of early Stuart politics while posing fascinating questions about the long-term origins of the English Revolution. Lucidly written, robustly argued and theoretically informed, this is one of the most impressive debuts I have read in many years. … marvelous.' Alastair Bellany, The Spenser Review

    'Noah Millstone's outstanding work supplies an invaluable survey of scribal pamphleteering during the Stuart era and provides rich new insights concerning the significance of their circulation. … By expertly addressing the manner by which 'collectors and diarists treated the texts themselves as forming a … political history of their own times' (167), Millstone bestows us with a modern equivalent that will prove useful to scholars with an interest in Stuart politics, regardless of their discipline.' Mark Kaethler, Renaissance Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107543737
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 13 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Conditions of Production:
    2. The social life of handwriting
    3. Tuning the instrument
    4. Performance and parliament
    Part II. Subjects and Subjectivity:
    5. Bristol's revenge
    6. Historians of the present
    Part III. The Secret History of the State:
    7. The antiquary and the malcontent
    8. The drift of the personal rule
    9. The ill-affected
    10. Conclusion

  • Author

    Noah Millstone, University of Bristol
    Noah Millstone is Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Bristol. He was educated at the University of Chicago and Stanford University, California, where he received a Ph.D. in 2011. He has held fellowships at the Huntington Library, at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, and at the Center for History and Economics at Harvard University, Massachusetts, where he was a Prize Fellow in Economics, History and Politics between 2011 and 2014. His work has appeared in Past and Present, The Journal of British Studies, and elsewhere. This is his first book.

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