Literature and Writing in Early Modern England includes works of fiction, nonfiction, and assorted correspondences that comment on subjects ranging from the Protestant Reformation to the Enlightenment. The dates of the items range from 1563 (the year John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was published) to 1792 (the year Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was published).
Throughout the early modern period, England remained a central power in Europe due to its centralized monarchy, international reaches, and transition from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. As such, many of England’s conflicts -- including the religious dichotomy between Protestantism and Catholicism, expeditions to the New World, and the battle over authority between the monarch and Parliament -- are part of larger trends that can be traced across the continent. In particular, this collection explores England’s transition into the Atlantic and its participation in the slave trade and early capitalism; the rise in prominence of science and reason, courtesy of Francis Bacon and John Locke; and the expansion of Parliament’s power and increase in discussion of political philosophy.
Overall, the collection’s aim is to provide a comprehensive understanding of communication both within England and beyond its borders during the early modern era, and to evaluate how English thinkers helped shape the broader scientific, economic, and political climate of Europe.