Networks of Print, Patronage and Religion in England and Scotland 1580-1604: The Career of Robert Waldegrave
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This thesis seeks to examine the nature of the intertwined networks of print, patronage and religion that existed within and across England and Scotland between 1580 and 1604, through the career of the English printer Robert Waldegrave. Multifaceted and complex, Waldegrave’s career spanned two countries, four decades and numerous controversies. To date scholars have engaged in a teleological narrative of his career, culminating in his involvement with the Marprelate press between April 1588/9. This focus on Waldegrave as a religious radical has coloured accounts of his English business and resulted in his Scottish career being disregarded by many. This thesis adds to the growing body of scholarship concerning printers and the print trade, illustrating the varied role Waldegrave played, both in relation to the texts he produced and within a broader trans-national context of print There are three major thematic areas of enquiry; whether Waldegrave’s characterization by contemporary commentators and subsequent scholars as a Puritan printer is accurate; what his career in Scotland between 1590 and 1603 reveals about the Scottish print trade, and finally the role and significance of the various networks of print, patronage and religion within which he operated in regards to his own career as well as in the broader context of early modern religious and commercial printing.
Challenging the reductive interpretation of Waldegrave’s life and career, this thesis places the Marprelate episode within the wider framework of his English and Scottish careers, enabling traditional assumptions about his motivation and autonomy to be questioned and reevaluated. It will be shown that the accepted image of Waldegrave as a committed Puritan printer, developed and disseminated by his representation within the Marprelate tracts was actually a misrepresentation of his position and that the reality was far more nuanced. His choices were informed by commercial concerns and the various needs of the networks of print, patronage and religion within which he worked, which often limited his ability to promote the religious beliefs he held. The study of Waldegrave and his English contemporaries within the Scottish print trade expands our knowledge of the relationship between the print trades of England and Scotland and highlights how intertwined they were during this period. Waldegrave’s Scottish career, and the significance of his complicated relationship with his royal patron, James VI will be established and the wider impact and significance of Waldegrave’s appointment as Royal printer demonstrated. As he worked as a minor jobbing printer, a fugitive on a clandestine press and as the Royal Printer in Scotland Waldegrave is one of a small number of stationers whose career was extremely varied. Through the study of Waldegrave’s unique and multifaceted career it is therefore possible to trace and analyse the complex networks within which he, and his fellow stationers operated during the late-sixteenth century.
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