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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines a realm of discourse and political communication that might plausibly be identified as ‘a post reformation public sphere’. It does so through an account of several modes of political and religious controversy, dispute and polemic, involving the press, circulating manuscript, and various sorts of performance. It argues that in the conduct of such disputes contemporaries often turned to history, both English and foreign, relatively recent and classical, as a way to understand and interpret contemporary events. It contends that the history play was both a product of and a contribution not merely to the emergent style of public politics being described here, but also to an increasingly self conscious analysis of how that politics might best be practised.

Keywords: persuasion and rhetoric, evil counsel, conspiracy, politick history, puritanism, Catholicism, libel, satire, pamphlet press, history plays

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