'Paper-contestations' and Textual Communities in England, 1640-1675
Published: July 2005© 2005
255 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
The mass production and dissemination of printed materials were unparalleled in England during the 1640s and 50s. While theatrical performance traditionally defined literary culture, print steadily gained ground, becoming more prevalent and enabling the formation of various networks of writers, readers, and consumers of books.
In conjunction with an evolving print culture, seventeenth-century England experienced a rise of political instability and religious dissent, the closing of the theatres, and the emergence of a middle class. Elizabeth Sauer examines how this played out in the nation’s book and print industry with an emphasis on performative writings, their materiality, reception, and their extra-judicial function. ‘Paper-contestations’ and Textual Communities in England challenges traditional readings of literary history, offers new insights into drama and its transgression of boundaries, and proposes a fresh approach to the politics of consensus and contestation that animated seventeenth-century culture and that distinguishes current scholarly debates about this period.
‘Amply informed by current critical debates, Elizabeth Sauer’s “Paper-contestations” and Textual Communities in England is a superb guide to the frenetic publishing circuits of the English Revolution. With her historical approach to interpretative communities and an insistence that political theatre spawned literature as much as literature spawned political theatre, Sauer has made a striking contribution to the ever-contentious battleground of revolutionary literary culture.’William Slights, Department of English, University of Saskatchewan