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Popery, Politics and Play: visual culture in Succession Crisis England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Adam Morton



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This article assesses the place of graphic satire in the burgeoningnews culture of late seventeenth-century England. It argues thathistorians who have used visual sources as typical of party positionsin a manner similar to modern political posters underesti-mate the sophistication of their interventions into politics. Graphic 10satires did not simply distil already existing ideologies into easilydigestible images, but made significant contributions to politicalculture: through the repetition of key images from the Popish Plot(1678–1682) Whig graphic satire created a narrative whichasserted control over the interpretation of events in a bitterly 15contested news culture. In response, Tory satirists developedsophisticated visual strategies to undermine that narrative, and itis argued that the graphic element of graphic satire – the skilfulplayfulness with which it parodied, commentated upon, ormocked other elements of news culture – was vital to its unleash- 20ing biting political commentary.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Morton A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Seventeenth Century

Year: 2016

Volume: 31

Issue: 4

Pages: 411-449

Online publication date: 29/11/2016

Acceptance date: 14/09/2016

ISSN (print): 0268-117X

ISSN (electronic): 2050-4616

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/0268117X.2016.1237885


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