Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa



This article argues for an ideologically neutral understanding of the early Enlightenment, the Enlightenment public, and later Stuart religious politics. It approaches these topics from the perspective of the book trade. Thomas Hobbes's publisher and man of business in the 1670s, William Crooke, set up his London bookshop as a public forum on ‘Hobbism’ that showcased the confrontation between the Anglican clergy and their most formidable foe. In his shop, Crooke set scribal copies of illicit Hobbes tracts alongside the works of his second prized author, an Enlightened Anglican apologist named Lancelot Addison. The stationer's projects included two separate schemes to publish a controversial Hobbes tract and a bishop's response to it in a single volume. The shop was frequented not only by some of the period's foremost republicans, tolerationists, and freethinkers, but also by powerful members of the political and religious establishment, many of whom condoned and actively supported Crooke's schemes. This case-study shows from the ground up why the early Enlightenment is most profitably understood as a site of struggle between competing schemes for making internecine bloodshed a thing of the past.

Corresponding author
Department of History, Lehigh University, 9 West Packer Ave., Bethlehem PA 18015,
Hide All

For invaluable commentary, assistance, and advice on previous versions of this article, the author would like to thank Justin Champion, Mark Goldie, Anthony Grafton, Peter Lake, Noel Malcolm, Meghan Roberts, Jacqueline Rose, Phil Withington, the anonymous peer reviewers, and audiences at the Northeast Conference on British Studies, Dalhousie University's Lawrence D. Stokes History Seminar, and Princeton University's Center for the Study of Books and Media.

Hide All
Mark Knights , ‘John Starkey and ideological networks in late seventeenth-century England’, Media History, 11 (2005), pp. 127–45

Peter Lindenbaum , ‘Authors and publishers in the late seventeenth century, ii: Brabazon Aylmer and the mysteries of the trade’, Library, 3 (2002), pp. 36–7

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Historical Journal
  • ISSN: 0018-246X
  • EISSN: 1469-5103
  • URL: /core/journals/historical-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 56 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 212 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.