Human beings have developed a superabundance of ways of communicating with each other. Some, such as writing, are several millennia old. This book focuses on the relationship between speech and writing both within a single language, Welsh, and between two languages, Welsh and English. It demonstrates that the eighteenth-century Scottish clergy used the popular medium of Gaelic in oral and written form to advance the Gospel. The experience of literacy in early modern Wales was often an expression of legal and religious authority reinforced by the spoken word. This included the hearing of proclamations and other black-letter texts publicly read. Literate Protestant clergymen governed and shaped the Gaelic culture by acting as the bridge-builders between oral and literary traditions, and as arbiters of literary taste and the providers of reading material for newly literate people. The book also offers some illustrations of how anecdotes became social tools which used to make points not only in private correspondence but also in civil conversation in early modern England. Locating vagabonds and minstrels, and other wanderers on the margins of settled society depended on the survival of the appropriate historical record. Cautionary tales of the judgements God visited upon flagrant and incorrigible sinners circulated widely in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England: stories of sabbath-breakers, swearers, drunkards, adulterers and other ungodly livers struck down suddenly by the avenging arm of the Almighty. During the age of Enlightenment, intellectual culture nourished a new understanding of non-literate language and culture.
Cautionary tales and oral tradition in early modern England
cluster of traditions no less vulnerable to the vagaries of oral transmission
than those which had crystallized around medieval Catholicism.
Cautionary tales of the judgements God visited upon flagrant and incorrigible
sinners circulated widely in sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuryEngland:
stories of sabbath-breakers, swearers, drunkards, adulterers and other ungodly
livers struck down suddenly by the avenging arm of the Almighty. A few
examples must suffice to convey the flavour of this perennially popular genre:
the case of Anne Averies, a London artisan who
Chapter 2 we investigate the modern origins of debt as a
technology of power by focusing on war, the creation of the “national”
debt, and the capitalization of the organized force of the state. We trace
the origins of debt as a technology of power to a confluence of events in
seventeenth-centuryEngland. However, far from seeing this as a series
of discrete events untainted by international interconnections, we
theorize them as already embedded in a web of dynastic, geopolitical,
and domestic relations of force. The purpose of founding the national
debt in England
Colonialism, Jewishness and politics in Bacon’s New Atlantis
patron, in the New Atlantis the monarch was
unlikely to be the target of direct criticism.
14/10/02, 9:45 am
Colonialism, Jewishness and politics
We have also noted the social, political, and cultural contradictions of early seventeenth-centuryEngland reflected in the
New Atlantis. Though this text recommends travel for the increase
in knowledge it will engender, it is also riven by a fear that new
knowledge will have a culturally destabilising effect. Consequently, we see a scientocracy in operation that insists on sole
control over the
Shapin, S. (1994). A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in SeventeenthCenturyEngland. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wood, G. S. (1992). Democracy and the American Revolution. In J. Dunn
(ed.), Democracy: The Unfinished Journey, 508 BC to AD 1993 (pp. 95–105).
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
world beyond the concerns of politics and
religion. This attempt to claim neutrality for natural knowledge
was of course of great interest to many in post Civil War England,
who wished to put a crucial part of intellectual thought potentially
beyond the kind of catastrophic divisions of the 1640s and 1650s.
But, in practice, an important component of the attempt at neutrality was political. As Schaffer has noted,
Now, the exclusions which surrounded and defined natural philosophy in seventeenth-centuryEngland involved various elements: the construction of a purely
nature in Salomon’s House’, Journal of the
History of Ideas, 43 (1982), 179–93 (p. 189).
13 Bacon, Novum Organum, in Works, I, 157 (1. 3): ‘Natura enim non nisi
parendo vincitur’ (for nature is not conquered unless it is obeyed).
14 Penelope Gouk, Music, Science and Natural Magic in Seventeenth-CenturyEngland (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1999), pp. 32, 159; Zetterberg,
‘Echoes’, p. 190; Salomon de Caus, Les Raisons des forces mouvantes
(Frankfurt, Jan Norton, 1615).
15 Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente, De brutorum loquela (Padua,
Laurentius Pasquatius, 1603
It is often suggested that enthusiasm for the visual arts
increased in England during the seventeenth century, partly as a result
of the pioneering collecting activities of figures such as Thomas
Howard, Earl of Arundel. 37
Work by Hamling and others has challenged this dominant narrative,
suggesting that late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-centuryEngland
enjoyed a lively, changing visual
a regime of toleration reflecting the way in which the population constituting those countries belong to
separate cultural and ethnic groups, which may have settled at different times
in the history of that particular land: On Toleration, pp. 30–5.
5 Cf. C. Hill, ‘Toleration in seventeenth-centuryEngland: Theory and practice’,
in Mendus, The Politics of Toleration, pp. 27–44.
6 Part of this story is told by Cécile Laborde’s contribution to this volume, though
she mainly addresses the French debate. Michael Walzer refers to democratic
Foundations (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1972),
Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic:
Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-CenturyEngland (repr. London: Penguin, 1991 [Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
1971]), 679. Alan Macfarlane, Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England:
A Regional and Comparative