Theme 4: Cultural changes - What was the Impact of Printing?

  • Created by: f_grant
  • Created on: 19-05-19 15:13


  • Leveled monopoly of learning between the clergy and laity
  • Attempts to control the presses soon became very difficult
    • First list of censored books 1529 - extended to secular books 1538
  • Led to a more modern state - publication of statutes and propaganda increased
    • 6000 copies of Bible published 1539
  • Standardised English language using London dialect
  • 1520-29 800 books published, by 1558 the average per decade was 1800 books
  • Book ownership increased 
  • Control of printing maintained from Cromwell onwards
  • Writers were only published if they advanced royal policies
  • Book production remained backwards compared to Europe
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Edward VI and Mary


  • Tracts printed - supported notion that everyone should read the Bible


  • New Testament of Geneva Bible published 1557 - text notes too radical for Elizabethan settlement but did remain popular in England in Mary's reign
  • 1557 - stationers founded in London. Monopoly on licensed presses apart from at the unis - monitor and prevent illegal printing
  • Protestants in exile published 98 works of propaganda. Government found it impossible to crack down on illegal protestant propaganda
  • 1557 - Richard Tottes published England's first poetry anthology - 271 poems including some by Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey. Reissued 8 times. Included comments on religious changes and so was popular under Elizabeth as well.
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Elizabeth I

  • Printing of text and images used to support the Cult of Gloriana
  • Puritans - published tracts and criticised the settlement
    • John Stubbs published tract against Queen's proposed marriage to Duke of Anjou
  • Catholics - flooded England with propaganda - 223 works including illegal copies of the papal bull of 1570.
  • Acts and Monuments by John Foxe (Foxe's Book of Martyrs) - featured in church sermons. Described and illustrated persecutions of protestants by catholics.
  • Plays published as a result of the rise in theatres
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