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Underground printing during the English Civil War, 1646-1666

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The monarchical regimes of seventeenth-century Europe were far from embracing anything akin to liberty of speech or freedom of the press. Nevertheless, in a period of crisis official censorship could come under considerable strain or collapse completely. During the English Civil War (1642-46) radical political and religious ideas issued prolifically from London presses. In particular, the Leveller movement proposed revolutionary political reforms which would have introduced universal religious liberty and a republican form of government akin to modern democracy. In order properly to understand these striking and unusual writings it is crucial for historians to undertake a systematic analysis of the legal and underground printing houses from which they sprang.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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