Sir Walter Raleigh and His Readers in the Seventeenth Century: Speaking to the Peopleby Anna R. Beer, Beer
Sir Walter Raleigh created a powerful public identity in the prose texts he wrote from prison. Anna Beer's new study offers a much-needed analysis of these neglected political writings which include The History of the World, A Dialog between a Counsellor and a Justice of the Peace, and Raleigh's speech from the scaffold. Moving beyond previous analyses which have understood these works primarily in terms of patronage relationships, Beer argues that Raleigh's experience of imprisonment encouraged him to seek new audiences outside the court and to explore political stances which confronted the power of the monarch. Later chapters chart the ways in which readers modified Raleigh's public identity over the course of the century, reforming his work to serve a range of political agendas, indeed using his voice to speak for a new notion of the people. By focusing on both Raleigh and his interpreters, this book contributes to the growing body of work on the politics and practices of writing and reading in early-modern England.
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