The Crisis of Eloquence: Newsbooks and Historiography
This chapter considers the problems created by newsbooks, which involved speech and authority. With printed speeches, pamphlets, and particularly newsbooks, it was never clear who was saying what to whom, nor what the precise context and language were. The danger was that the uninformed historian, while fighting for truth, would be deceived by the falsifying imagination of propagandists. The chapter also looks at criticisms of newsbooks, which focused on six more or less equally important attributes: (i) the inferior typography and diminutive stature of newsbooks; (ii) the grand untruths they told; (iii) the greed of their writers, printers, and publishers; (iv) the vulgarity of their readers, who were accordingly prone to believing the lies they read; (v)the disruptive effect they had not only on relations between the king and parliament, but on society in general; and (vi) their poor literary qualities.
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