Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist Literature, 1641-1660

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This book is a study of the various kinds of royalist writing during the period of the English Civil War and the Interregnum, when printing and publishing were largely controlled by Parliament. Lois Potter examines the effectiveness of this control and the means by which writers evaded it: illicit publication; the use of various kinds of code, such as ciphers, emblems, secret languages, symbolism and allegory; the exploitation of genres such as romance and tragicomedy; the submerging of personal identity through literary quotation and allusion. By looking at a very wide sample of texts ranging from anonymous pamphlets to the works of well-known 'Cavalier poets', the book brings greater precision to the controversial subject of the relation of literature to politics and the relation of both to the psychology of secrecy.