In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

196Rocky Mountain Review and for whom goals and home constitute no options. Resistance to hierarchical restriction provides the only desirable definition of freedom. While these four essays provide the scholarly backbone to the collection, I also want to comment on the collection's evolution. In the "Prologue" to the text, the editors discuss with incredible honesty the two-year process involved in working as a "research collective." They admit to scholarly and personal clashes, to individual incompatibilities, to changes in group membership as well as to an ongoing commitment by a core of diligent workers and to an ultimate experience of commonality, respect, and production . This endeavor provides a model for researchers interested in the process of collective projects. The product, Women and the Journey: The Female Travel Experience, speaks to the benefits of undertaking collaborative journeys. RENÉE R. CURRY California State University San Marcos JEROME FRHiDMAN. The Battle of the Frogs and Fairford's Flies: Miracles and the Pulp Press During the English Revolution. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. 304p. ELIZABETH SKERPAN. The Rhetoric of Politics in the English Revolution 1642-1660. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1992. 264p. In light of the recently renewed debate about the causes of the English Revolution (exemplified by Conrad Russell and Lawrence Stone), the studies by Jerome Friedman and Elizabeth Skerpan offer new insights into the political literature and pamphlets produced during this topsy-turvy time. Interestingly, these two books study similar aspects of the English Revolution, but from very different perspectives. Jerome Friedman examines the popular press—ballads, broadsides, pamphlets—for reactions to the English Revolution. Such an analysis of the pulp press, or what Friedman calls the "seventeenth-century equivalents of People magazine and the National Enquirer" (xiv), is designed to show an underside of sensational literature, dealing with witchcraft, plagues, outlaws , drunkeness, prostitution, and other strange events, that sheds important light on popular reactions to the English Revolution. Distinguishing between popular literature which appeals to mythic hopes and pulp journalism which appeals to fears, Friedman reveals just how frightening revolution was to the common populace. Friedman explains that this study of the often superstitious views of the less educated is not a formal analysis of the cause of the English Revolution; nevertheless, he provides telling evidence of why the revolution may have failed. Examining the pamphlets in the Thomason collection that most scholars ignore, Friedman demonstrates that popular réponses to the violent events of the period were both conservative and marked by a willingness on the part of many to believe accounts Book Reviews197 of monstrous apparitions, marching frogs, plagues, murders, and sexual orgies as signs and omens of the times. The large audience that accepted this literature was generally horrified at the execution of Charles I, the disruption of public and religious institutions, and the attempts at forced moral reforms. Subsequently, such an audience welcomed the restoration of monarchy. Friedman tells us that his study is a straightforward presentation of the materials that does not subject them "to deconstructionist, reductionist, imagist, or symbolic methods of interpretation" (xiii). In the first chapter he briefly surveys censorship, the popular press, and the types of popular genres that evolved in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In the second chapter he analyzes the public reaction to the fall of Charles I in terms of these popular materials, and he considers the audience that read them. Following the example of Keith Thomas, Friedman presents us with an audience that held a totemistic and superstitious view of the world. Writers of newsbooks and pamphlets appealed to and profitted from such an audience. In most of these publications, natural disasters and other strange and unusual events were interpreted as divinely ordained and as administering either justice or mercy to those involved. After the execution of Charles I, according to Friedman, many natural disasters—floods, plagues, and pestilence —were seen as God's adverse judgments for the killing of the king. In succeeding chapters, Friedman analyzes the popular reaction to revolution as revealed in prophecies, prognostications, Puritan attempts at moral reform and reactions against such reforms, attitudes toward women, and the popularity of outlaws. Friedman's study of some 300 newsbooks and...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 196-200
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.