Understanding Early Modern Primary Sources is an introduction to the rich treasury of source material available to students of early modern history. During this period, political development, economic and social change, rising literacy levels, and the success of the printing press, ensured that the State, the Church and the people generated texts and objects on an unprecedented scale. This book introduces students to the sources that survived to become indispensable primary material studied by historians.
After a wide-ranging introductory essay, part I of the book, ‘Sources’, takes the reader through seven key categories of primary material, including governmental, ecclesiastical and legal records, diaries and literary works, print, and visual and material sources. Each chapter addresses how different types of material were produced, whilst also pointing readers towards the most important and accessible physical and digital source collections. Part II, ‘Histories’, takes a thematic approach. Each chapter in this section explores the sources that are used to address major early modern themes, including political and popular cultures, the economy, science, religion, gender, warfare, and global exploration.
This collection of essays by leading historians in their respective fields showcases how practitioners research the early modern period, and is an invaluable resource for any student embarking on their studies of the early modern period.
"Anyone interested in (what the editors call) ‘the stuff’ of the early modern past will want to read this book. Each well-focused chapter is written in an engaging style that makes this introduction to primary sources essential reading for any student of the period."
David Dean, Carleton University, Canada
"Understanding Early Modern Primary Sources is indispensable for courses on early modern England or Europe. It enables students to conduct high-quality research on a wide range of topics. It guides them through the wealth of primary sources available in English online or in modern editions, and it lays out the main secondary literature and approaches."
Jacob D. Melish, University of Northern Colorado, USA
List of Figures List of Contributors Introduction: Understanding Early Modern Primary Sources Laura Sangha and Jonathan Willis PART I: SOURCES 1 State Papers and related collections Natalie Mears 2 Legal and Judicial Sources Henry French 3 Ecclesiastical Sources Jonathan Willis 4 Print Ian Green 5 Literary Sources Ceri Sullivan 6 Personal Documents Laura Sangha 7 Visual and Material Culture Tara Hamling PART II: HISTORIES 8 Gender Merry Wiesner-Hanks 9 Religion and Religious Change Alec Ryrie 10 Political Cultures Janet Dickinson 11 Popular Culture Mark Hailwood 12 Economic Life Brodie Waddell 13 Warfare Neil Younger 14 Early Modern Science Helen Cowie 15 The Wider World Margaret Small Index