Parliament and Political Pamphleteering in Fourteenth-century England

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Boydell & Brewer, 2010 - History - 232 pages
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"A timely and significant book...changing the landscape of political history and culture... a vindication of a striking argument about the ability of the medieval chattering classes to write, read, and hear pamphlets long before the arrival of printing. Persuasive and compelling." Professor W.M. Ormrod, University of York. Some sixty years before the advent of the printing press, the first political pamphlets about parliament circulated in the city of London. Often vitriolic and satirical, these handwritten pamphlets reported on a trilogy of parliamentary victories against the crown known as the Good, the Wonderful, and the Merciless Parliaments. The first pamphlets point to the existence of a market of readers hungry for news of parliament as well as to the emergence of public opinion as a political force. This book reconstructs the lives of the political pamphleteers as well as the political landscape of late fourteenth-century England, giving particular emphasis to the large group of bureaucrats living in London to which Geoffrey Chaucer belonged. Dr Clementine Oliver is Associate Professor of History at California State University.
 

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Contents

The Good Parliament and the First Political Pamphlet
29
The Making of a Political Pamphleteer
56
Reading and Writing about the Wonderful Parliament
84
Conspiracy Theories
117
From Londons Streets 1388
142
The End of the Merciless Parliament
174
A comparison of the Historia mirabilis parliamenti and the
196
Bibliography
209
Index
225
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