“Plot’s Commonwealth”: The Circulation of Manuscripts and the Practice of Politics in Early Stuart England, 1614-1640


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the role of handwritten political tracts in the fraught political life of pre-Civil War England. It argues that the production, circulation, and reception of manuscripts was a critical part of early Stuart political practice, and situates manuscript tracts at the intersection of news and political thought, and between factional maneuver and the history of reading. Scholars who have dealt with related problems have focused almost exclusively on print, which has led to the systematic exclusion of hundreds of widespread, explicit, and radical religious and political texts. Restoring these tracts to the center of the story reveals the deep suspicion and danger that helped wreck the stability of early Stuart England.