The Public Prints

The Public Prints : The Newspaper in Anglo-American Culture, 1665-1740

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Newspapers reflect the world as perceived by its writers and readers. They illustrate assumptions in a society about the nature of news and history, the practice of certain literary styles, the political and commercial structure of communities, and the larger process by which culture is transmitted and transformed. Comprehensive in scope and narrative in style, The Public Prints is the first study of the role of the earliest newspapers in eighteenth-century American society and culture. In the hands of Charles E. Clark, American newspaper publishing becomes a branch of the English world of print in a story that begins in the bustling streets of late-seventeenth-century London and moves to the provincial towns of England and across the Atlantic. While Clark's most detailed attention in America is to the three multi-newspaper towns of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, evidence from Williamsburg, Charleston, and Barbados also contributes to generalizations about the craft and business of eighteenth-century publishing. With the newspaper, Clark finds, English-speaking peoples on both sides of the Atlantic found an instrument of commerce, politics, literature, and an awareness of themselves and the world. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the newspaper occupied an accepted and essential niche in the social ecology of both Britain and British America. Stressing the continuous trans-Atlantic connections as well as English origins, Clark argues that the newspapers were a force both for "anglicization" in their attempts to replicate English culture in America and for "Americanization" in creating a fuller awareness of the British-American experience across colonial boundaries. Bybroadening access to current information and by dignifying in print the familiar concerns of everyday life, the newspapers offered a kind of open communion. Ordinary readers were invited into what was previously a privileged circle, sharing in the ritual of communal identity in which oshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 28mm | 621.42g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones
  • 0195082338
  • 9780195082333

Review quote

Charles Clark's book is a lively and scholarly treatment of the earliest newspapers in the history of colonial America ... this is a well researched and informative volume which makes a solid and helpful contribution to its subject ... a salutary foundation to further work. * Frank O'Gorman, Archives, April '96 *show more

Back cover copy

Newspapers reflect the world as perceived by its writers and readers. They illustrate assumptions in a society about the nature of news and history, the practice of certain literary styles, the political and commercial structure of communities, and the larger process by which culture is transmitted and transformed. Comprehensive in scope and narrative in style, The Public Prints is the first study of the role of the earliest newspapers in eighteenth-century American society and culture. In the hands of Charles E. Clark, American newspaper publishing becomes a branch of the English world of print in a story that begins in the bustling streets of late-seventeenth-century London and moves to the provincial towns of England and across the Atlantic. While Clark's most detailed attention in America is to the three multi-newspaper towns of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, evidence from Williamsburg, Charleston, and Barbados also contributes to generalizations about the craft and business of eighteenth-century publishing. With the newspaper, Clark finds, English-speaking peoples on both sides of the Atlantic found an instrument of commerce, politics, literature, and an awareness of themselves and the world. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the newspaper occupied an accepted and essential niche in the social ecology of both Britain and British America. Stressing the continuous trans-Atlantic connections as well as English origins, Clark argues that the newspapers were a force both for "anglicization" in their attempts to replicate English culture in America and for "Americanization" in creating a fuller awareness of the British-American experience across colonial boundaries. Bybroadening access to current information and by dignifying in print the familiar concerns of everyday life, the newspapers offered a kind of open communion. Ordinary readers were invited into what was previously a privileged circle, sharing in the ritual of communal identity in which one participated by reading the news. Clark suggests, finally, that this was the newspaper's greatest cultural role in provincial America - the creation of a community bound by the celebration of common values and attachments through the shared ritual of reading. Creating a fuller look at American provincial culture and bringing to life the people and processes involved in printing and reading the news in eighteenth-century England and America, The Public Prints provides stimulating thought for the general reader and scholar interested in the formation of early America and its history of communications.show more

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