Sunday, January 16, 2011

Before there were blogs

The Folger Shakespeare Library ran a vibrant exhibition, "Breaking News: Renaissance Journalism and the Birth of the Newspaper," curated by Chris R. Kyle and Jason Peacey with Elizabeth Walsh, September 25, 2008-January 31, 2009. The exhibition is still online and is a sort of catalog book of the early newspaper from 1620s to early 18th century.

Our Sources and Debates in English History, 1485-1714 includes selections from MS. newsletters - 4.2 A Spanish newsletter about Hawkins and Drake (December 1569) and 8.8 Selections from newsletters (1675–82), as well as selections from early modern newspapers - 8.9 Selections from Whig and Tory newspapers (1679–82). Selections from the many newsbooks of the 1640s, however, must be searched for elsewhere. Early English Books Online (EEBO) has those collected and bound by George Thomason, and a modern edition of selections is to be found in Joad Raymond, The Invention of the Newspaper: English Newsbooks 1641-1649 (Oxford University Press, 2005). 

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Talking Heads / Housing Coffee

Perhaps because of the publication Brian Cowan, The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse (Yale University Press, 2005); Markman Ellis, The Coffee House: A Cultural History (Phoenix, 2005), etc., but more probably because of the expansion of blogs (and the decline of newspapers) had everyone scrambling back to an earlier age and technology of communication shift (from newsbooks to newspapers, from taverns to coffeehouses).  In any case, the last five years have seen numerous online musings:  Coffee-houses vs. Salons; a review of Cowan considering the Coffeehouse Mob; a discussion of the public sphere From the Coffee House to the World Wide Web (though I am unsure how the image Hogarth's Treating fits, given that that is clearly a tavern/private dining room); Notes on Coffee (though perhaps it should be titled Notes on Habermas); a long article "Coffee and Civilization," by Scott Horton (Harper's, August 20, 2007); and recently "Coffee Society."

The concluding chapter of Bucholz and Key, Early Modern England discusses coffee-houses quite a bit, in relation to London's mercantile and insurance developments, aristocratic sociability, and, of course, the nascent public sphere. I worry whether coffeehouses can be all things to all people; but they certainly were a prominent early modern feature.  (We don't use the picture at left in Early Modern England or Sources and Debates, though I believe it is circa 1705.)  For more on coffeehouses and modernity, see Drinking as Enlightenment? (below).  To resist the Whiggish idea that coffeehouses developed everything new about the modern public sphere, see Philip Withington, Society in Early Modern England (Polity Press, 2010), 235, where everything "associated with the Enlightenment coffeehouse had been promulgated through the council chambers and parish vestries of England for the previous one hundred years"!

Virtual St. Paul's Churchyard - addendum

Six month's ago, we noted a Virtual Grub Street? of blogs devoted to aspects of early modern England.  Perhaps it is time to add a few more:

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