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Open Access Literary Cultures And Public Opinion In The Early Modern Low Countries

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Literary Cultures And Public Opinion In The Early Modern Low Countries

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Chapter Summary

Sixteenth-century political, religious and intellectual authorities were themselves concerned about the persuasive power of songs and poems. Fearing the divisive potential of such works, they developed special censorship rules such as bans on the treatment of certain subjects, the checking of texts prior to performance, and thereafter prosecution and, where deemed necessary, sanctions. This chapter examines the process of the formation of public opinion in the early modern Low Countries with a special focus on the insufficiently examined role of literature in forming opinions and ways of thinking. It shows that the early modern Low Countries did in fact have the potential to develop a public opinion, and that literary works were important in this regard. The chapter demonstrates that it should be no less natural for historians to use responses to social, political, religious and other issues which appeared in a literary form as well as other sources.

Keywords: early modern Low Countries; public opinion



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