Parliament and Political Pamphleteering in Fourteenth-Century England

Parliament and Political Pamphleteering in Fourteenth-Century England

Clementine Oliver


York Medieval Press



First full examination of the phenomenon of the medieval political pamphlet.
"A timely and significant book...changing the landscape of political history and culture... a vindication of a striking argument about the ability of the medieval chattering classes to write, read, and hear pamphlets long before the arrival of printing. Persuasive and compelling." Professor W.M. Ormrod, University of York. Some sixty years before the advent of the printing press, the first political pamphlets about parliament circulated in the city of London. Often vitriolic and satirical, these handwritten pamphlets reported on a trilogy of parliamentary victories against the crown known as the Good, the Wonderful, and the Merciless Parliaments. The first pamphlets point to the existence of a market of readers hungry for news of parliament as well as to the emergence of public opinion as a political force. This book reconstructs the lives of the political pamphleteers as well as the political landscape of late fourteenth-century England, giving particular emphasis to the large group of bureaucrats living in London to which Geoffrey Chaucer belonged.

Dr Clementine Oliver is Associate Professor of History at California State University.


August 2010
2 black and white illustrations
248 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781903153314
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
York Medieval Press
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Table of Contents

Where do Pamphlets come from?
The Good Parliament and the First Political Pamphlet
The Making of a Political Pamphleteer
Reading and Writing about the Wonderful Parliament
Conspiracy Theories
From London's Streets, 1388
The End of the Merciless Parliament
Appendix: A Comparison of the Historia Mirabilis Parliamenti and the Parliament Rolls


A sensitive, detailed exploration of late-medieval politics and textuality through the lens of a startling, still under-read text. It deserves a wide, cross-disciplinary audience. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND GERMANIC PHILOLOGY

(An) immensely readable book... adds greatly to our knowledge. THE MEDIEVAL JOURNAL