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The Oxford English Literary HistoryVolume V: 1645–1714: The Later Seventeenth Century: Companion Volume$
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Margaret J. M. Ezell

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Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780191849572.001.0001

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The King’s Body: Eikon Basilike and the Royalists in Exile at Home and Abroad

The King’s Body: Eikon Basilike and the Royalists in Exile at Home and Abroad

I. The King’s Body: Eikon Basilike and the Royalists in Exile at Home and Abroad
The Oxford English Literary History

Margaret J. M. Ezell

Oxford University Press

The trial and execution of Charles I by Parliament generated many accounts ranging from ballads to Eikon Basilike, a text believed to have been written by Charles himself during his final days. Although debunked by John Milton’s Eikonoklastes, Eikon Basilike rapidly went through multiple illegal editions and was the center piece of the royalist belief that Charles was a royal martyr. Among many of the prominent literary figures in royalist exile on the continent were Abraham Cowley, Edmund Waller; Thomas Hobbes, who wrote Leviathan in Paris; and William Davenant, who created his new style epic poem Gondibert. The last three returned to England in the 1650s having made arrangements with the Puritan Parliament. Those royalist supporters who remained in England lived mostly quiet and retired lives outside of London and pursed literary and translation projects, including Katherine Philips, and Richard and Ann Fanshawe.

Keywords:   Charles I, execution, royalists, Eikon Basilike, John Milton, Eikonoklastes, Abraham Cowley, Pindaric, Edmund Waller, William Davenant, Thomas Hobbes, Katherine Philips, Ann Fanshawe

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