Religious Dissent and Textual Culture in the Eighteenth Century
The introduction sets out the intellectual background informing the present study. It explains the legal situation of Protestant dissent in the eighteenth century, identifies some difficulties associated with ‘dissent’ as a label, and sets out the particular intellectual and educational emphases of the group at the centre of this book. It defines and explains ‘textual culture’ as a term which incorporates scribal culture and kinds of text which lie beyond our own limited definition of ‘literary’, as well as printed books, thereby registering the ongoing importance of these textual forms and genres in the period. It provides an overview of the debates in which the book intervenes and the key claims it makes with specific reference to varieties of Protestantism in eighteenth-century England, educational conditions and public participation, and models for studying textual production and circulation.
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