chapter  4
29 Pages

Vice, Folly, and Rogues

Thomas Dekker, like many others, repeatedly drew the analogy between public writing and warfare, between ink and ordnance, and the Elizabethan and Jacobean pamphleteers left a legacy which helped to shape a real war. There can be little doubt that many ordinary early seventeenth-century people, most of all those living in London, were familiar with politically inflected opinion' and conflict, and to some extent opposition'. Writers like Dekker had manipulated conventional condemnations of cheap print in order to draw their readers' attention to the nature of the pamphleteers' art, and in a climate of far greater urgency, the culture of pamphleteering was also scrutinised by the later Caroline and Civil War writers. The threat posed by the cheap printed work was no longer to learning and the book trade, as the Stationers had feared in the 1580s and John Davies complained in 1611.