Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics, 1627-1660

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This magisterial new history of seventeenth-century republican political culture sets key texts by Marvell and Milton in a richly detailed context, showing how writers reimagined English literary culture without kingship. The book draws on extensive archival research, bringing to light exciting and neglected manuscript and printed sources. Offering a bold new narrative of the whole period, and a timely reminder that England has a republican as well as a royalist heritage, it will be of compelling interest to historians as well as literary scholars.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] fine and important book...I suspect that Writing the English Republic will have as large and lasting an impact as any previous or readily forseeable study of the relationship between literature and politics in seventeenth-century England....[Norbrook] writes in an attractively exploratory spirit which resists dogmatism and the sealing of argument....The richness of insight and of fresh information supplied by Writing the English Republic is indebted to old fashioned virtues of archival industry and linguistic competence." Blair Worden, Times Literary Supplement

"[Norbrook's] marvellously original, densely researched study of the English republican imagination (and intellect, one should stress) is an attempt to retrieve forgotten figures like the regicide Henry Marten, as well as to extend our understanding of the works of Milton and Marvell. As Britain moves towards either a republic or a reduced monarchy, Writing the English Republic should help us to understand this partly-buried period of English literary history." Tom Paulin, Independent

"...highly recommended for graduate students and faculty." Choice

"In this timely and far-reaching study, David Norbrook contributes to the present British anti-monarch project by demonstrating the many ways in which its cultural roots in the seventeenth century have fallen victim to an Act of Oblivion like that designed to efface remnants of the Interregnum in 1660. Norbrook succeeds admirably in 'restoring' to our conciousness as scholars and political animals an important tradition of literary republicanism that the 'Restoration' of 1660 and its Act of Oblivion willed us to forget." Leah S. Marcus, Vanderbilt University

"...this book is exemplary..." Alan Rudrum, Seventeenth-Century News

"Writing the English Republic should convince any remaining skeptics that republicanism indeed has an early and important presence in seventeenth-century England. Magisterial, wide-ranging, and often brilliant, Writing the English Republic boldly rewrites the history of seventeenth-century English culture. The book should be of considerable interest and value to all scholars of the early modern period." Renaissance Quarterly

Derek Hirst
Norbrook's central premise is that what we call 'literature' cannot be segregated from the political conexts in which it is embedded and with which it is always in some way engaged.
London Review of Books
Derek Hirst
Norbrook's central premise is that what we call 'literature' cannot be segregated from the political conexts in which it is embedded and with which it is always in some way engaged.
London Review of Books
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521785693
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 524
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Lucan and the poetry of civil war; 2. The King's peace and the people's war, 1630–43; 3. Rhetoric, Republicanism and the public sphere: Marten, Waller, and Milton, 1641–44; 4. Uncivil peace: politics and literary culture 1645–49; 5. Poetry and the Commonwealth, 1649–53; 6. Double names: Marvell and the Commonwealth; 7. King Oliver? Protectoral Augustanism and its critics, 1653–58; 8. Republicanizing Cromwell; 9. Culture and anarchy? The revival and eclipse of Republicanism, 1658–60; 10. Paradise Lost and English Republicanism; Appendix.

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