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Title: The clergy and print in eighteenth-century England, c. 1714-1750
Author: Latham, Jamie Marc
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 6212
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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In much of the historiography surrounding print culture and the book trade, the worldliness of print remains a point of common emphasis. Indeed, many influential studies either assume or actively present the history of print as part of a broader ‘secularization thesis’. Recently, however, historians have challenged these narratives, recognizing the central role of religious print as a driver of growth within the book trade and discussion within the nascent ‘public sphere’. Yet the scholarship into ‘religion and the book’ remains fragmentary, focused on individual genres or persons, with no unified monograph or standard reference work yet to emerge. This dissertation addresses some of the barriers to synopsis by investigating the long-term print output of the largest social and professional group engaged in evangelizing Christianity to the public: the clergy of the Church of England. By focusing on the clergy, this dissertation evades the usual narrow focus on genre. In the past, book-historical and bibliographic studies have relied heavily on a priori classification schemes to study the market for print. While sufficient in the context of relatively well-defined genre categories, such as printed sermons, the validity of these classification schemes breaks down at the wider level, for example, under the conceptual burden of defining the highly fluid and wide-ranging category of ‘religious works’. This dissertation begins to remedy such problems by modelling the print output of a large population of authors who had the strongest stake in evangelizing Christianity to the public through print. It utilizes the latest techniques in the field of digital humanities and bibliometrics to create a representative sample of the print output of the Anglican clergy over the ‘long’ eighteenth-century (here 1660-1800). Based on statistical trends, the thesis identifies a crucial period in the history of clerical print culture, the first four decades of the Hanoverian regime. The period is explored in detail through three subsequent case studies. By combining both traditional and digital methods, therefore, the dissertation explores clerical publishing as a phenomenon subject to evolution and change at both the macro and micro level. The first chapter provides an overarching statistical study of clerical publishing between 1660 and 1800. By combining data from two bibliographical datasets, The English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC), and the prosopographical resource, The Clergy of the Church of England Database (CCED), I extract and analyse a dataset of clerical works consisting of almost 35,000 bibliographic records. The remaining chapters approach the thesis topic through primary research-based case studies using both print and manuscript sources. The case studies were selected from the period identified in the preceding statistical analysis as a crucial transitional moment in the history of clerical publishing culture, c.1714 to 1750. These case studies form chapters 2, 3, and 4, each of which explore a different aspect of a network of authors who worked under the direction of the bishop of London, Edmund Gibson (1723-1748), during the era of Whig hegemony under Sir Robert Walpole. Finally, an appendix outlines the methodology used in chapter 1 to extract the sample of clerical printed works from the ESTC. Overall, the thesis demonstrates the profound influence of the clergy on the development of English print in the hand-press period. It thus forms both a historiographic intervention against the secularization thesis still implicit in discussions of print culture and the book trade, as well as providing a cautionary critique of the revisionism which has shaped recent investigations into the Church of England.
Supervisor: Klein, Lawrence Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: clergy ; church of england ; print culture ; history of the book ; print ; religious controversy ; publishing statistics ; estc ; english short title catalogue ; clergy of the church of england database ; edmund gibson ; daniel waterland ; enlightenment ; rage of party ; pastoral letters ; weekly miscellany ; william webster ; SPCK ; society for promoting christian knowledge ; eighteenth century ; walpole ; controversy ; political stability ; press ; periodicals ; secularization ; public sphere ; habermas ; evangelization ; religion and the book