At the end of May, we finished cataloguing works of succession literature published in 1625. Amongst these is a short panegyric on Charles I in which the author, one William Hodson, paused to wonder if any poet was really up to the job of writing about the new king: “Who’ll undertake so great a Task, who can”. Such rhetoric of poetic inadequacy is of course to be found frequently in this kind of panegyric, although who’s to say whether or not Hodson, just a year out of Cambridge and apparently making his first venture into print, hadn’t started to think the task a little too great after all. Regardless of it being a rhetorical commonplace, however, the question nonetheless captures something of the project’s early findings about the succession literature of 1625. For, when these are placed alongside the research on 1603 that was completed in the opening month of the project, it indeed becomes apparent that relatively few writers in 1625 were responding to Charles’s succession.
Some early figures help to illustrate the point. A search on Early English Books Online (EEBO) for printed works from 1625 reveals 1017 records. Having searched through these records, we’ve been able to add just 73 items of succession literature to the project database. Continue reading