By Rebecca Bullard
It is a examine of the 'secret history', a polemical type of historiography which flourished in England throughout the past due 17th and early eighteenth centuries. mystery histories promised their readers formerly undiscovered intelligence concerning the covert activities and hidden factors of public figures, basically monarchs, their ministers and their mistresses. In an period of absolute rule, mystery histories shattered the air of secrecy of puzzle which surrounded the facility elite. the key heritage unfold in the course of the genres and used to be utilized by polemicists, pamphleteers and novelists from around the political spectrum. Bullard argues that mystery histories' rhetorical peculiarities needs to be understood within the gentle of latest get together politics. As a kind, they point out a cosmopolitan, analytical and politically engaged examining public in overdue Stuart and early Hanoverian England.
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Additional info for The Politics of Disclosure, 1674-1725: Secret History Narratives
Analysing the ways in which conventions are passed between authors and modified through time requires a literary critical approach towards secret history. It demands close attention to both the language and the tone that particular texts adopt when they claim to disclose secrets, and to the formal and structural characteristics of the texts in which such revelatory gestures are made. 94 But it also entails substantial risks of misreading and over-reading, as it places heavy hermeneutic demands upon its readers, both contemporary and modern.
The Secret History is the only work that Barkesdale (or Barksdale, as his later imprints are spelled) published in 1674. Between 1675 and 1685, however, Barkesdale brought out fourteen titles, ten of which are by a scholar, Church of England clergyman, and probable relative of his named Clement Barksdale. Indeed, between 1675 and 1680, John Barkesdale only sold works by Clement. If we look at Clement Barksdale’s career for the decade between 1675 and 1685, we find a similar dependence on John. 26 Since the careers of John and Clement Barksdale were so closely intertwined during the decade beginning in 1675, Clement Barksdale is a likely candidate for translator of the Secret History.
Indeed, the French translation is the final volume of a handsome set of the complete works of Procopius. Its publication in this format suggests that the Anekdota was regarded as equal in status to Procopius’s other works: his prestigious History of the Wars and his architectural history, On Buildings. 8 It seems that by the late seventeenth-century – on the European continent, at least – Procopius’s Anekdota had been transformed from a seditious, unpublished manuscript into a published text that could either be regarded as a harmless antiquarian curiosity or even as a prestigious form of neoclassical history worthy of high-quality reproduction and imitation.