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Control of religious printing in early Stuart England

Towers, Suellen Mutchow; (1999) Control of religious printing in early Stuart England. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Religious printing in Jacobean and Caroline England and the measures taken to regulate it have not generally been studied as a separate issue. Previous examinations of the control of print publication did not isolate religious works and suggested that even in the 1630's the mechanisms of press control were but intermittently and ineffectively applied. The purpose of this investigation is to examine the surviving evidence in an attempt to measure the effectiveness of press control over a period of four decades. For this reason samplings were made of the religious press for the years 1607, 1617, 1627 and 1637. Each of the four decadal chapters charts the development of press controls, but the main purpose is to compare texts. This comparison reveals that the licit first editions which contained evangelical Calvinist teachings of unconditional predestination, portrayals of the Pope as Antichrist, and strict sabbatarianism, among other views, accounted for 63% of the sample in 1607 and 71% in 1617, but were not present in the books surveyed for 1637. Thus the content of religious printing changed between the start and finish of the early Stuart period; while William Laud was archbishop of Canterbury, a shift in the nature of religious orthodoxy can be seen in the output of the religious press. This change was in large part due to the system of press licensing which assigned the task of pre-publication approval of manuscripts to specific licensers. By 1637 religious works which had legal imprints (and in most cases records of entrance and licensing in the Stationers' Registers) can be found advocating novel ceremonies, practices, and doctrines, while books not products of the licensing system - reprints and surreptitious works - reflected the pre-Laudian orthodoxies of evangelical Calvinists. The chronological study is followed by a comparative case study which explores the same problem from a different angle. The publication patterns of the Arminian Thomas Jackson and the evangelical Calvinist Thomas Taylor display complementary curves. Jackson's increasingly strident anti-Calvinist publications flourished in the years of Laud's rule between 1633 and 1640, while, conversely, only one title of Taylor's was licensed and printed during that time. These cases enhance the findings of the larger examination.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Control of religious printing in early Stuart England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Philosophy, religion and theology; Calvinism
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100103
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