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Title: The politics of information in the correspondence of William Trumbull and Sir Dudley Carleton, 1616-25
Author: Coast, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 0481
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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The correspondence collections of the diplomats William Trumbull and Sir Dudley Carleton have been described as 'the basic starting place for any study of Jacobean England', yet historians have tended to simply ransack their letters for facts for political history. For the first time, this thesis places the selection and readership of news in Trumbull's and Carleton's letters in the vitally important context of their own private interests and ideological perspectives. At the same time the thesis takes an innovative approach to diplomatic sources which have previously been used simply to understand the minutiae of foreign policy, and instead advances richly documented arguments about the ways in which news and rumour were circulated, scrutinised and interpreted during the early Stuart period. It investigates the manipulation and suppression of diplomatic information, shedding light on the process of Jacobean foreign policy decision making. It explores the issue of government secrecy and the interception of letters, as well as the rhetorical ploys through which individuals expressed potentially dangerous opinions in a 'plausibly deniable' manner. It examines the ways in which contemporaries scrutinised royal actions and their sometimes exaggerated suspicions of royal dissimulation, as well as shedding light on the 'performative' nature of early Stuart kingship. At the same time, this thesis investigates the largely overlooked subject of political rumours, examining the ways in which they were authenticated and believed as well as how they became distorted and what this can tell us about contemporary attitudes and ways of reasoning about the news. It will also explore the self-fulfilling potential of rumours and the extent to which they were used as weapons in court and international politics, as well as shedding light on contemporary attempts to attribute and understand them. The richness of Trumbull's and Carleton's correspondence, and the breadth of themes and questions it allows us to address, mean that this thesis offers much richer and fuller case studies for understanding the dissemination and interpretation of news and rumour than have been attempted thus far.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available