This chapter attempts to draw together central themes and to highlight salient issues and connections from various parts of the book. One conclusion, confirmed in every chapter, is that English society under Elizabeth I and the early Stuarts was marked by thousands of competing narratives. Drawn from both archival and textual sources, these stories display the power and perplexity of magistrates and ecclesiastical examiners and the energy of the popular press. Their themes include unwanted pregnancy and illegitimate birth; midwifery, infanticide, and abortion; murder, attempted murder, and attempted suicide; remedies for plague and cures for epilepsy; domestic and professional reputations; the flouting of ecclesiastical discipline; the persistence of traditional beliefs; the cultural significance of clothing; and opposing religious sensibilities in the reign of Charles I. The explosion of print at the beginning of the English revolution points to a ferment of beliefs and religious experiments.
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