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Conflict and Enlightenment
Print and Political Culture in Europe, 1635–1795


  • Date Published: November 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521701808

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About the Authors
  • New approaches to the history of print have allowed historians of early modern Europe to re-evaluate major shifts in religious, intellectual, cultural and political life across Europe. Drawing on precise and detailed study of the contexts of different types of print, including books, pamphlets, newspapers and flysheets, combined with quantitative analysis and a study of texts as material objects, Thomas Munck offers a transformed picture of early modern political culture, and through analysis of new styles and genres of writing he offers a fresh perspective on the intended readership. Conflict and Enlightenment uses a resolutely comparative approach to re-examine what was being disseminated in print, and how. By mapping the transmission of texts across cultural and linguistic divides, Munck reveals how far new forms of political discourse varied depending on the particular perspectives of authors, readers and regulatory authorities, as well as the cultural adaptability of translators and sponsors.

    • Integrates the traditional history of books into a new history of political culture
    • Covers a broad chronological span to match real changes in print culture from 1635 to 1795, integrating the two biggest revolutions in early modern Europe into a broader view of political and cultural change
    • Takes a number of early modern texts as detailed case studies in order to situate every text within its precise historical context and escape from the 'canon' of great texts
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This impressive and ambitious study of the interplay of print, political thought and expression, and social and cultural change is a compelling, fine-tuned and original account of how the printing press served as an agent of change across the early modern period and Enlightenment.' Simon Burrows, Western Sydney University

    'With remarkable command of the Germanic languages, not to ignore his facility with French and other languages, Munck has written the history of books and publishing from the 1630s to the turbulent 1790s into Enlightenment historiography. The sheer quantity and quality of print culture, expanding more rapidly than the literate public, shows that without it, the origins and power of the Enlightenment cannot be understood.' Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Research Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

    'This weighty study takes the reader from the depths of the Thirty Years War to the end of the Enlightenment. Surveying the previous fifty years of research on the topic, it asks how print media reshaped ideas and impacted political culture in an era when polemic was rife and print was becoming the most powerful tool available to form opinion in the new reading public.' Dorinda Outram, Professor Emerita of History, University of Rochester, New York

    'Munck skilfully combines observation and classification at the meta level, and presents the interaction between political events and the production, distribution, and reception of print media, whose format allowed them to adapt to different political conditions.' Christine Haug, German Historical Institute London Bulletin

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521701808
    • length: 378 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Print, production, authors and readers
    2. Instability and politicisation (1630–77)
    3. Subversive print in the early Enlightenment
    4. Translation and transmission across cultural borders
    5. High enlightenment, political texts and reform (1748–89)
    6. Revolution: democracy and loyalism in print (1789–95)

  • Author

    Thomas Munck, University of Glasgow
    Thomas Munck is Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Glasgow where his research focuses on comparative European social, cultural and political history. A current member of a research group on Cultural Translation based in Germany, he is the recipient of research grants from the Carnegie Trust and British Academy, and the author of Seventeenth-Century Europe: State, Conflict and Social Order in Europe, 1598–1700 (2005).

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