Newsbook

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  • Intro

    Newsbooks were the ancestors of newspapers, printed at this time in editions of up to 250 copies, though being read probably by a much larger number. While newsbooks became widespread during the 1640s, their origin can be traced back to official statements about public events, such as The Trewe encountre, a pamphlet published following the Battle of Flodden in 1513, and corantos, newsletters carrying collected information, which often contained reported speech.

     

    This page from a newsbook, entitled A true report of certaine wonderful overflowings of waters, shows concerns that are all too real today, with an image of major flooding around the Bristol Channel in 1607. Contemporary reports of the tragedy record about 2,000 casualties, and close reading of the account supports the idea that the flooding may have been the result of a tsunami.

     

    During the Civil War (1642-51) a newspaper war broke out; the royalist Mercurius Aulicus was printed in Oxford and Bristol, even circulating in London, where it was regarded as a major problem by the parliamentarians, who eventually produced the Mercurius Britannicus to counter it.

     

    Shelfmark: 1103.e.58.

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