Restoration secret histories about Charles II that used romance modes as their screening genre were not merely products of and contributors to the political factions taking shape in Restoration London; they also contributed to ideological changes regarding political subjecthood occurring in the late seventeenth century. By creating an affective link of intimacy between readers and the subject of their reading, in this case their monarch, secret history texts like Sébastien Brémond’s Hattigé and the anonymous The Perplex’d Prince temporarily allowed for the subject to feel empowered to judge the behavior (personal and political) of the king. This affective intimacy created by secret histories was enabled by the social reading practices associated with this genre in the period. These reading practices created both real communities—in the coffeehouses and taverns of London—and imaginary communities of readers interested in the game of deciphering the texts.


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pp. 58-82
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