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The first newspapers, or 'newsbooks', appeared in 1641, although the reasons for their appearance have never been fully understood. The Invention of the Newspaper is the first interdisciplinary account of the origins and early development of the English newspaper, using both manuscript and printed evidence to account for the precise moment of the newsbook's appearance - a moment just a few months before the outbreak of civil war. Raymond explores the newspaper's unique place in the flourishing political print culture of the 1640s, showing how newsbooks drew from and then reformed elements of literary culture, being both produced by a public hunger for news and, in turn, creating a market for it. The Inverntion of the Newspaper presents previously unexplored evidence concerning the distribution and readership of seventeenth-century news publications, which suggests that the early newsbooks were widely read and highly influential, and that - even today - they exert a considerable influence over the way in which seventeenth-century history is perceived.
Charting the newsbook's development as a genre, its narrative forms, literary merits and influences, and its relationship to other vehicles of communication, printed and spoken, such as sermons, alamanacs, and play-pamphlets, Raymond presents a detailed exploration of the newsbook's gradual dominance of the market for information.