Literatures and Cultural Studies Faculty Publications and Presentations

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In this article I propose that the relatively few intercepted and discovered letters printed during the reign of Elizabeth I fall chiefly into three categories: they were published as propaganda, as patriotic statement, and as news reportage. Although Elizabeth and her ministers published intercepted and discovered letters on a strictly ad hoc and contingent basis, the pamphlets and books in which these letters appear, along with associated ideo-logical and polemical material, reveals determined uses of intercepted and discovered letters in print. Catholics likewise printed intercepted letters as propaganda to confront Elizabeth’s anti-Catholic policies through their own propaganda apparatus on the continent. Intercepted letters were also printed less frequently to encourage religious and state patriotism, while other intercepted letters were printed solely as new reportage with no overt ideological intent. Because intercepted and discovered letters, as bearers of secret information, were understood to reveal sincere intention and genuine motivation, all of the publications assessed here demonstrate that such letters not only could be used as effective tools to shape cultural perceptions, but could also be cast as persuasive written testimony, as legal proof and as documentary authentication.


Copyright 2019 Gary Schneider

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The Journal of Epistolary Studies





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