Dissenting Histories: Religious Division and the Politics of Memory in Eighteenth-Century England

Synopsis

The first major study of the historical writings of religious dissenters in England between the 1690s and the 1790s, this book redefines the way we understand religious and political identities in the eighteenth century. Dissenting Histories provides a synoptic overview of the development of religious dissent in England between the Restoration and the early nineteenth century, using Dissenters' writings to open up new and different perspectives on how the past was perceived in this period. These writings are located within the wider political culture and the author explores how the long shadow of 'the Great Rebellion' of the 1640s stretched across the division between Church and Dissent. The author is not simply concerned with history as a representation of the past, but history also as part of the bitterly divided collective memory of the present. Focusing on the relationship between the history that historians wrote, and the history that men and women experienced, John Seed provides the reader with new perspectives on eighteenth-century England.