'Paper-contestations' and Textual Communities in England, 1640-1675
University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 199 pages
The mass production and dissemination of printed materials were unparalleled in England during the 1640s and 50s. While theatrical performance traditionally defined literary culture, print steadily gained ground, becoming more prevalent and enabling the formation of various networks of writers, readers, and consumers of books.
In conjunction with an evolving print culture, seventeenth-century England experienced a rise of political instability and religious dissent, the closing of the theatres, and the emergence of a middle class. Elizabeth Sauer examines how this played out in the nation's book and print industry with an emphasis on performative writings, their materiality, reception, and their extra-judicial function.'Paper-contestations' and Textual Communities in England challenges traditional readings of literary history, offers new insights into drama and its transgression of boundaries, and proposes a fresh approach to the politics of consensus and contestation that animated seventeenth-century culture and that distinguishes current scholarly debates about this period.