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Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500–1700$
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Adam Fox

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199251032.001.0001

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Ballads and Libels

Ballads and Libels

(p.299) 6 Ballads and Libels
Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500–1700

Adam Fox

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the scenario of ballads and libels in the 16th- and 17th-century England. The makers of ballads and libels were regularly under trial in early modern England, since ballads could be considered moral offences. Ballads and songs were invented in order to ridicule and shame a rival or adversary. The Star Chamber records provids important information about the way in which slander and libel were regarded during this period. Even though the makers of songs and rhymes could not read handwriting, they still sought to have their compositions written down and transcripts made in order to facilitate the circulation of their work and also to heighten their impact. The written word added a visual and a physical dimension to the ethereal quality of sound.

Keywords:   ballads, libels, moral offences, star chamber records, written word, quality of sound

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