Understanding Early Modern Primary Sources is an introduction to the rich treasury of source material available to students of early modern history. During this period, political development, economic and social change, rising literacy levels, and the success of the printing press, ensured that the State, the Church and the people generated texts and objects on an unprecedented scale. This book introduces students to the sources that survived to become indispensable primary material studied by historians.
After a wide-ranging introductory essay, part I of the book, ‘Sources’, takes the reader through seven key categories of primary material, including governmental, ecclesiastical and legal records, diaries and literary works, print, and visual and material sources. Each chapter addresses how different types of material were produced, whilst also pointing readers towards the most important and accessible physical and digital source collections. Part II, ‘Histories’, takes a thematic approach. Each chapter in this section explores the sources that are used to address major early modern themes, including political and popular cultures, the economy, science, religion, gender, warfare, and global exploration.
This collection of essays by leading historians in their respective fields showcases how practitioners research the early modern period, and is an invaluable resource for any student embarking on their studies of the early modern period.