Constructing the Past


In early modern England, common people often received news of current events through cheaply printed and widely distributed pamphlets. The more interesting of these pamphlets were entirely devoted to relating stories of recent crimes, especially murders.

While at first reading [one such] pamphlet appears to be a simple news tabloid, it is, under the surface, much more. Murder pamphlets such as A Briefe Discourse served as messages to the public, instilling religious morals and the importance of maintaining the Great Chain of Being.