A Narrative History of the English Newsbook, 1641–1649
This chapter details the rapid proliferation of newsbooks after their initial appearance in November 1641. Within a few weeks there were many newsbooks produced by different publishers, competing with and counterfeiting each other, struggling to find a foothold in a potentially lucrative market. Writers began to express their opinions, and thereby to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Political antagonism played an increasingly significant role. At the same time novice readers rapidly acclimatised themselves to the new form, and became sensitive to rhetorical and political arguments. Newsbooks became very influential. Writers alluded to them, attacked them, and thereby acknowledged their literary potency. To some readers newsbooks were worth collecting, to others they were ephemera, and they may even have reached the scatological end about which contemporaries joked. Across the country, throughout social hierarchies, in many different ways, newsbooks left traces of their impact.
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