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Writing Rogues: Cheap Print Representations of Deviance in Early Modern London

Liapi, Eleni (2013) Writing Rogues: Cheap Print Representations of Deviance in Early Modern London. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The figure of the rogue, either as a trickster or a threat, gripped the early modern imagination. Through plays, pamphlets, proclamations and gossip about criminals, London dwellers were bombarded with information about rogues, all of which created the impression that London was swarming with such unsavoury characters. This thesis adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the study of pamphlets about rogues, combining the history of print culture and its methods with the social history of London and crime. This contrasts with previous treatments of this material: rogue literature has been used as background for the analysis of early modern plays, especially late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century ones, by literary scholars, and has usually been dismissed by historians as entirely fictional. My thesis focuses on cheap pamphlets about rogues from 1590 to 1670; this period saw a burst of publications about criminals, ranging from rogue discoveries to narratives of life and death and descriptions of prisons. Through these publications, the image of the rogue was modified, acquiring new connotations, such as the Cavalier, while at the same time retaining earlier ones, such as the trickster figure or the image of the prodigal son. These changes in the image of the rogue, while not challenging the consistency of his/her depiction, reflect the continuing importance of this figure in perceptions of crime. The majority of these texts was published in London, was London-centric in its contents, and was advertised as news about crime in the metropolis. Consequently, this thesis explores the complexity of rogue pamphlets’ interaction with the social world, their readers and perceptions about crime and morality. From the starting point of cheap print about roguery, this examination leads into broader discourses about deviance, urbanisation and the marketplace of print.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.595155
Depositing User: Ms Eleni Liapi
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2014 13:05
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5310

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