Publishing for the Masses

Publishing for the Masses

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Suhr, Carla
Publishing for the Masses. Early Modern English Witchcraft Pamphlets
Modern Language Society
Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki LXXXIII
Jyväskylä 2011, xv + 302 pp.


This study is a pragmatic description of the evolution of the genre of English witchcraft pamphlets from the mid-sixteenth century to the end of the seventeenth century. Witchcraft pamphlets were produced for a new kind of readership – semi-literate, uneducated masses – and the central hypothesis of this study is that publishing for the masses entailed rethinking the ways of writing and printing texts. Analysis of the use of typographical variation and illustrations indicates how printers and publishers catered to the tastes and expectations of this new audience. Analysis of the language of witchcraft pamphlets shows how pamphlet writers took into account the new readership by transforming formal written source materials – trial proceedings – into more immediate ways of writing.


ISBN 978-951-9040-39-4
ISSN 0355-0192