Reading Revolutions: The Politics of Reading in Early Modern England

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $27.95
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 24%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $27.95   
  • New (5) from $33.35   
  • Used (4) from $27.95   


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 analysing 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 criticised not only in the public forum but in the study, on the page and in the imagination, of early modern readers.

'Erudite, intelligent and fascinating ... a wonderful study of a subject central to the intellectual and cultural history of early modern England.' Anthony Grafton

Kevin Sharpe was director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and professor of renaissance studies at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of 'The Personal Rule of Charles I', 'Selling the Tudor Monarchy' and 'Image Wars', all published by Yale University Press.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

David Norbrook
[A] remarkable new book...a spirited overview of a huge range range of issues in the study of early modern reading, surveying recent scholarship and proposing new areas that remain to be explored. This is a book that will open many windows.
The Times Literary Supplement
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300187182
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 3/7/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 374
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface to the Reader
List of Abbreviations
Pt. 1 Learning to Read
1 Reading in Early Modern England 3
Pt. 2 Reading Early Stuart England
2 Reading and Politics in Early Stuart England: The Mental World of Sir William Drake 65
3 Reading and Writing Self and Society: Sir William Drake and the English Civil War 121
App William Drake's Parliamentary Notebook 158
Pt. 3 Reading and Revolution
4 Reading Revolutions 167
App Sir William Drake and The Long Parliament Revived 253
Pt. 4 Reading and Politics
5 The Politics of Reading and the Reading of Politics in Early Modern England 257
Afterword: Possibilities 341
Index 344
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)