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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The radical and repeated changes in state religion, accompanied by persecution of any who openly dissented from the status quo, meant that there were numerous groups who found themselves in exile at home in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This chapter focuses on the experience of Protestant Nonconformists in the later seventeenth century. It examines the ways in which Nonconformist communities interpreted their experiences, interrogating and recording these in a variety of literary genres. The concept of exile at home is analysed through five discrete and interconnected categories: imprisonment; legal disputation in the courts; corporate worship; itinerant preaching; and letter writing. Each section draws upon a number of case studies that illustrate the wide range of spiritual experiences and theological convictions in Nonconformist communities and how these were encapsulated, transformed, and disputed in journals, letters, sermons, and biographies, amongst other literary genres.

Keywords: Nonconformist, exile, Restoration, English literature, women’s writing, religious history, dissenter, Protestant Reformation

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