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Nedham, Marchamont


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


A prolific journalist and pamphleteer, as well as a trained physician, Marchamont Nedham (1620–78) was one of the most important political authors of the seventeenth century, significant both for his distinctive and early contribution to English republican thought, and for his witty and acerbic style, often mimicked but rarely matched by contemporaries. Nedham was born in 1620 in Burford in Oxfordshire, where his father was employed by a local gentry family, and was educated by his mother's second husband, the local minister and schoolmaster, before progressing to All Souls College, Oxford, as a chorister, and graduating BA in 1637. His first employment was as usher, or undermaster, at Merchant Taylors' School in London, although he subsequently became a clerk at Gray's Inn. Nedham began his journalistic career in 1643 as a contributor to the Parliamentarian newspaper Mercurius Britanicus , and later became its editor. By September 1647, however, he was writing for the Royalists, as editor of Mercurius pragmaticus , although upon being imprisoned by the Republicans in June 1649, he quickly secured release and accommodated himself to the new regime, becoming one of the Republic's most important salaried propagandists, and editor of its flagship newspaper, Mercurius politicus . In this role, Nedham survived the constitutional shift from Republic to Protectorate, and effectively ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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