Fireworks Display Along the Thames, 1639 — Jean Puget de la Serre, L’Histoire de l’Entrée de la Reyne Mere dans la Grande-Bretagne (London, 1639), courtesy Folger Shakespeare Library.
Politics, Literary Culture & Theatrical Media in London : 1625-1725
Created by a team of historians and literary scholars at the University of Massachusetts, this website explores the social, political and literary world of London between the reign of Charles I and the early Hanoverian period. Through the use of interactive maps, brief descriptions of major topics in the city’s history and more than 150 images, we hope to give students a better feel for the texture of London life that will complement what they learn from more conventional printed texts. To that end we have constructed pages dealing with the London’s geography and social topography, major episodes in its history, and thematic issues, such as the expansion of commerce, the circulation of news and political commentary, and patterns of crime. In several cases these contain links to excerpts from historical documents or other websites. Our goal is to help students and other users of the site better appreciate the many ways in which the period’s literature was shaped and informed by a rich and vibrant urban environment that contemporary readers would have known intimately.
The site’s content was developed to support an interdisciplinary course that connected politics and literature by examining the themes and episodes highlighted here. Offered by the History and English departments at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the course asked students to contribute material to the site and students’ “guest” pages appear throughout it. Although our immediate purpose was to supplement interdisciplinary teaching, we hope that the site will be more widely used, offering viewers a chance to experience the spaces, sights, and sounds of London in 1625-1725.