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Press Censorship in Jacobean England


  • Page extent: 300 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.448 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521033534)

This 2001 book examines the ways in which books were produced, read and received during the reign of King James I. It challenges prevailing attitudes that press censorship in Jacobean England differed little from either the 'whole machinery of control' enacted by the Court of Star Chamber under Elizabeth or the draconian campaign implemented by Archbishop Laud, during the reign of Charles I. Cyndia Clegg, building on her earlier study Press Censorship in Elizabethan England, contends that although the principal mechanisms for controlling the press altered little between 1558 and 1603, the actual practice of censorship under King James I varied significantly from Elizabethan practice. The book combines historical analysis of documents with literary reading of censored texts and exposes the kinds of tensions that really mattered in Jacobean culture. It will be an invaluable resource for literary scholars and historians alike.

• Builds on Clegg's earlier study, published by Cambridge University Press in 1997, which was well reviewed and has become a standard reference • Challenges prevailing attitudes about press censorship in Jacobean England • Provides an interplay between rich historical narrative and a discussion of censorship


Acknowledgments; List of abbreviations; Introduction: Jacobean press censorship and the 'unsatisfying impasse' in the historiography of Stuart England; 1. Authority, license and law: the theory and practice of censorship; 2. Burning books as propaganda; 3. The personal use of censorship in 'the wincy age'; 4. Censorship and the confrontation between prerogative and privilege; 5. The press and foreign policy, 1619–24: 'all eies are directed upon Bohemia'; 6. Ecclesiastical faction, censorship and the rhetoric of silence; Afterword; Notes; Bibliography; Index.


'Press Censorship in Jacobean England is a valuable addition to the revisionist history of the Jacobean age, as well as to our understanding of the practice and mechanisms of early modern censorship.' The Times Literary Supplement

'This is a scholarly and convincing essay, written from a sound grasp of the historical sources, and a good understanding of the dynamics of the reign.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History

'An excellent companion volume to Clegg's earlier study … for the thoroughness of its scholarship, for the illuminating contribution it makes to our understanding of the complexity of early modern press censorship as well as for opening up new horizons in the historical and literary research on the Jacobean age in general and James I in particular, this is cultural history to savour.' English Studies

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