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Literature and Politics in Seventeenth Century London (lecture)

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Free public lecture by Anna Beer, held at Gresham College.
Available as video, audio, and transcript. Power-point slides and presenter's notes also available on the site.


The contrasting, but interconnected, experiences of two writers: Sir Walter Ralegh and John Milton.

Ralegh was a prisoner in the Tower of London between 1603 and 1616, where he wrote a number of works including the monumental (and unfinished) The History of the World.

Milton spent most of his working life in the City of London, whether as a prolific writer of political pamphlets or hiding in fear of his life at the Restoration of Charles II.

The lecture will illuminate the London communities that radicalised each man and reveal the networks that enabled their political thinking to reach its audience, set against the backdrop of a wider transformation in political culture; the move from manuscript to print and the explosion of publications when censorship was relaxed in 1640.

What can we learn from this interplay between politics and print as we experience our own internet revolution?

This lecture is being held in association with the Fulbirght Commission

  • Download:   a.mp4 Video (273.79 MB)
Date Published: 14 May 2012