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‘Out of Books and Out of Themselves’: Invigorating Impartiality in Early Modern England

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Chapter Summary

When the crisis culminated with the execution of King Charles I in 1649, accounts of the event appeared in the pages of the numerous partisan newsbooks that had proliferated in the previous decade as parties competed to report on and interpret the contentious events of the 1640s. The dramatic events of the 1640s and 1650s polarized the public that was forced to come to terms with the execution of a monarch, the dismantling of the state church, and a fitful experiment with republicanism. The periodical newsbooks that emerged to trace and interpret England's rapidly-changing social landscape sought to distinguish themselves from polemic by advertising their impartiality in their titles; The Impartiall Intelligencer, for instance, vied with Mercurius Impartialis and The royal divrnall. The prominence of claims to 'impartiality' and 'disinterest' in mid-century polemic signals that the posture of impartiality was a popular one.

Keywords: England; King Charles I; Mercurius Impartialis; republicanism; The Impartiall Intelligencer; The royal divrnall



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