Laudian and royalist polemic in seventeenth-century England
This is the first full-length study of one of the most prolific and controversial polemical authors of the seventeenth century. It provides for the first time a detailed analysis of the ways in which Laudian and royalist polemical literature was created, tracing continuities and changes in a single corpus of writings from 1621 through to 1662. In the process, the author presents important new perspectives on the origins and development of Laudianism and ‘Anglicanism’ and on the tensions within royalist thought. Milton’s book is neither a conventional biography nor simply a study of printed works, but instead constructs an integrated account of Peter Heylyn’s career and writings in order to provide the key to understanding a profoundly polemical author. Early chapters trace Heylyn’s career in the 1620s when his Laudian credentials were far from evident, and his years as the main official spokesman for the religious policies of Charles I’s personal rule. Further chapters trace his actions in the 1640s as the target of a vengeful parliament, editor of the main royalist newsbook and an increasingly disillusioned pamphleteer; his remarkable attempted rapprochement with Cromwell in the 1650s; and his attempts to shape the Restoration settlement and his posthumous celebrity as a spokesman of the Anglican royalist position. Throughout the book, Heylyn’s shifting views and fortunes prompt an important reassessment of the relative coherence and stability of royalism and Laudianism. Historians of early modern English politics and religion and literary scholars will find this book essential reading.
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