The Role of Manuscript Newsletters in Charles II's Performance of Power
Keating, Erin M.
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“The Role of Manuscript Newsletters in Charles II’s Performance of Power” argues that manuscript newsletters written out of England’s Secretary of State’s offices in the 1670s contributed to the political representation of Charles II as a monarch who was accessible to his subjects. Bringing Jacques Derrida’s theory of supplementarity and Joseph Roach’s work on celebrity to bear on these historical documents reveals the affective importance of the newsletter medium and offers another way to understand the medium alongside their more traditional role as precursors/companions to printed news. By tracing the ways that the official manuscript newsletters acted as gossip, created the semblance of a politically elite readership, and acted metonymically, standing in for the physical body of the king, I argue that they were part of a larger political strategy whose aim was to create an illusion of intimacy between Charles and his subjects.