Monthly Archives: December 2012

Succession Literature at the Restoration

The task of cataloguing the succession literature of 1660 was always going to be one of the largest that the project faced. An EEBO search for the year returns 3511 records and to sift through these took around three and a half months. On completing this search at the beginning of autumn, around 545 new works had been added to the database. Many of these take forms that are familiar from previous succession years: of the current entries about a third for example are in, or include, verse. Other provisional information, though, reveals some more particular trends. About 7% are broadside ballads, more than in previous years and evidence of a widening commercial market for succession literature. About 10% are histories, most of which deal with the Civil Wars and the 1650s and thus seem to suggest that any impetus in 1660 to forget or turn the clock back to 1642 was more complex than it might first appear. We’ve also come across some firsts for the database: the first masque (Anthony Sadler’s The Subject’s Joy); the first genealogical chart (in Giles Fleming’s Stemma Sacrum); and the first item in Welsh, albeit an extract printed in a work written in English (William Williams’s none too ambiguously titled pamphlet The King, and none under God, but the King, can save this nation).

Yet determining what succession literature actually is in 1660 has been trickier than first expected. The project’s early definition of succession literature was: writing, printed in response to a new monarch’s assumption to the throne, which reflects on the transfer of monarchical power and / or attempts to shape perceptions of the new monarch. Continue reading