The Pamphleteers: The Birth of Journalism, Emergence of the Press & the Fourth Estate (Hardcover)
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The Pamphleteers is an investigation of the early journalism. In an era long before the advent of the periodical press, the pamphleteers were the world's proto-journalists. As a paper platform for a spectrum of religious fanatics, eccentrics, social commentators, and satirists, the pamphlet evolved as a weapon of propaganda (forged between the fledgling press and Star Chamber censorship) for powerful vested interest groups, political parties, governments - and revolutionists. The Guttenberg revolution of the Renaissance provided the spark and the Reformation of the sixteenth century the explosive fuel for the pamphleteering phenomenon. As the pamphlet form took root, then so English prose emerged from its antique form with an extraordinary rash of stylistic innovations to embrace such unlikely postures as subversive fulmination, cod polemic, ferocious satire, and manifesto. In times of religious ferment, civil war, colonial unrest and revolution, such texts - risky or even dangerous to publish - were often the product of secret presses and anonymous authors. At the other exposure, there were those who encountered that risk - and found notoriety or lasting fame along the way. In the hands of a select few, the pamphlet reached a level of high achievement beyond any ordinary Grub Street reckoning. As a special focus, the narrative reveals how the early journalists were driven not so much by scandal and sensationalism at home and abroad but by major historical events on the world stage: the Reformation, the English Revolution, the War of the Spanish Succession, and the revolutions in America and in France. Along a mighty timeline, these were the great political tides that led to the birth of journalism, the periodical press, and the emergence of the fourth estate. In this brief survey, the author includes vignettes on seven pamphleteers: Robert Greene, Thomas Nashe, Thomas Dekker, John Milton, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, and culminating with the high achievement of Tom Paine. The Pamphleteers is itself a pamphlet for the digital age.