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Newsletters

CHRIS R. KYLE


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Extract

Renaissance England avidly consumed news. From the bawdy ballads about the sexual peccadillos of senior government ministers to the printed newspapers of the 1620s that drily reported on the Thirty Years' War, news reached everywhere from the village square and raucous alehouse to the parlours of aristocratic houses. But the articulation and transmission of news in England was closely watched by the government. Writing about current events could be a dangerous pastime, and there was strict state control of the output of the printing press. Except in the cases of moralizing tales of repentant criminals or strange occurrences in the countryside, the printing of domestic news was banned in England. Somewhere between the extremes of gossip and, after 1620, newspaper war reports sat (somewhat awkwardly at times) the manuscript newsletter. The term ‘newsletter’ is not without problems of definition. As Ian Atherton (1999) has argued, it is not possible to delineate clearly the difference between a pure newsletter and what Richard Cust (1986) called an ‘unformalized newsletter’, which carried items of personal information as well as the news. Virtually all newsletters were personalized to some degree, and thus the definition remains somewhat opaque. But what is clear is that manuscript news became more formalized in the Renaissance, and this manifested itself in the increasing desire ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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