Reading revolutions : the politics of reading in early modern England /
Kevin Sharpe.
New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, c2000.
xiv, 358 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
0300081529 (alk. paper)
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New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, c2000.
0300081529 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-11-01:
Sharpe (Univ. of Southampton) is well known as the author of The Personal Rule of Charles I (CH, Jul'93). Despite the empirical cast of that work, Sharpe's prodigious scholarship has, from his first monograph, highlighted power and imagination as ingredients of political culture. The opening chapter of Reading Revolutions urges transcendence of debate above revisionist "consensus" and postrevisionist "conflict" in early-17th-century British history, proffering instead a textual, humanistic approach to Renaissance politics that grounds reception theory in archival research. This undertaking is not so radical for a historian as nonstigmatizing references to noms terrible such as Foucault, Derrida, and Chartier might imply; methodologically retrograde historians, after all, may construe the archivally based portions of Sharpe's book as a "micro-historical" commentary afforded by the annotations of an obscurely prolific, Machiavellian gentleman from Buckinghamshire, Sir William Drake. Lucidly written and stimulating, but with contextual demands that are beyond the capacities of most undergraduates, Reading Revolutions may be contrasted with Thomas Cogswell's Home Divisions (1998), which employs different perspectives and methodologies to provide a similarly challenging, but contradictory, assessment of early Stuart politics. Graduate students and faculty. M. C. Noonkester; William Carey College
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Choice, November 2000
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Unpaid Annotation
This fascinating book -- the first comprehensive study of reading and politics in early modern England -- examines how texts of that period were produced and disseminated and how readers interpreted and were influenced by them. Based on the voluminous reading notes of one gentleman, Sir William Drake, the book shows how readers formed radical social values and political ideas as they experienced civil war, revolution, republic, and restoration.By analyzing the strategies of Drake's reading practices, as well as those of several key contemporaries (including Jonson, Milton, and Clarendon), Kevin Sharpe demonstrates how reading in the rhetorical culture of Renaissance England was a political act. He explains how Drake, for example, by reading and rereading classical and humanist works of Tacitus, Machiavelli, Guicciardini, and Bacon, became the advocate of dissimulation, intrigue, and realpolitik. Authority, Sharpe argues, was experienced, reviewed, and criticized not only in the public forum but in the study, on the page, and in the imagination of early modern readers.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface to the Reader
List of Abbreviations
Learning to Read
Reading in Early Modern Englandp. 3
Reading Early Stuart England
Reading and Politics in Early Stuart England: The Mental World of Sir William Drakep. 65
Reading and Writing Self and Society: Sir William Drake and the English Civil Warp. 121
William Drake's Parliamentary Notebookp. 158
Reading and Revolution
Reading Revolutionsp. 167
Sir William Drake and The Long Parliament Revivedp. 253
Reading and Politics
The Politics of Reading and the Reading of Politics in Early Modern Englandp. 257
Afterword: Possibilitiesp. 341
Indexp. 344
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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