Voices of Dissent in Restoration England

24th September 2019

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The Culture of Dissent in Restoration England is the subject of a new book by Wadham’s George Southcombe.

  • Front cover: Thomas Grantham, ‘The prisoner against the prelate’, n.p. 1662, frontispiece (detail), The Huntington Library, San Marino, California, RB 145587.

  • Dr George Southcombe

Concentrating on the voices of a range of highly articulate late seventeenth century dissenters, the book offers new perspectives on religion and politics in England at that time.

“The voices of individual dissenters have not always been clearly heard. This book offers a fresh and challenging new approach to those that the confessional state of Restoration England had no prospect of silencing,” comments Dr Southcombe. 

It provides case studies of dissenters, focusing on their modes of political activism, and on the varieties of dissenting responses to the Restoration. Each case study demonstrates the vitality and integrity of witnesses to a spectrum of post-revolutionary Protestantism. 

“This book seeks, through an exploration of textual culture, to illuminate both the varied ways in which Nonconformists sought to engage with central authorities in Church and State, and the development of Nonconformist identities during the period,” added George. 

The Culture of Dissent in Restoration England (Boydell Press) has an interdisciplinary approach and includes close readings of a large number of literary – particularly poetic – texts. It also contributes to wider historiographical debates concerning the significance of print culture and the relationship of ‘popular’ culture and theology. 

This will be an important book for those working on late seventeenth-century politics, religion and literature, and indeed all scholars exploring England’s post-Reformation experience. 

George Southcombe is Director of the Sarah Lawrence Programme, at Wadham College.