The English civil wars radically altered many aspects of mid-seventeenth century life, simultaneously creating a period of intense uncertainty and unheralded opportunity. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the printing and publishing industry, which between 1640 and 1660 produced a vast number of tracts and pamphlets on a bewildering variety of subjects. Many of these where of a highly political nature, the publication of which would have been unthinkable just a few years before. Whilst scholars have long recognised the importance of these publications, and have studied in depth what was written in them, much less work has been done on why they were produced. In this book Dr Peacey first highlights the different dynamics at work in the conception, publication and distribution of polemical works, and then pulls the strands together to study them against the wider political context. In so doing he provides a more complete understanding of the relationship between political events and literary and intellectual prose in an era of unrest and upheaval. By incorporating into the political history of the period some of the approaches utilized by scholars of book history, this study reveals the heightened importance of print in both the lives of members of the political nation and the minds of the political elite in the civil wars and Interregnum. Furthermore, it demonstrates both the existence and prevalence of print propaganda with which politicians became associated, and traces the processes by which it came to be produced, the means of detecting its existence, the ways in which politicians involved themselves in its production, the uses to which it was put, and the relationships between politicians and propagandists.
'Peacey's account is convincing and astonishingly well-researched. It will be required reading for anyone interested in early modern British print culture.' History '… a useful study of the ties between propaganda and state formation. [The author's] analysis of the relationship between political figures and writers, and his exploration of the social, political, and military contexts of the creation and transmission of propaganda will prove valuable to scholars working on seventeenth-century history and print culture.' Sharp News 'Peacey […] provides his readers with a closely argued and deeply researched journey through the political and polemical literature which was produced between 1640 and 1660… His voluminous reading is well documented in the footnotes which are printed (how nice for the reader) where they should be, in this beautifully produced volume. Testimony to Peacey's mastery of primary sources is abundant and the book provides an excellent reference source for anyone working in this area.' Parergon 'Peacy's book will become required reading for historians interested in the political history and print culture of mid-seventeenth-century England.' Journal of Modern History 'This is an important contribution from a historian who has in recent years quietly emerged as one of our leading experts on the history of revolutionary England.' Sixteenth Century Journal
Contents: Introduction; Part 1 The Motor of Propaganda: Politicians and the propaganda impulse; Authors and the propaganda impulse. Part 2 The Mechanics of Propaganda: Decoding pamphlets; Licensing and propaganda; Politicians and the press; Politicians and the writing process. Part 3 The Dynamics of Propaganda: The limits of propaganda; The propagandist and the politician. Epilogue: Propaganda, the state, and the public sphere; Bibliography; Index.