"The Talk of the Towne": News, Crime and the Public Sphere in Seventeenth-Century London

Lena Liapi

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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This article reconsiders ideas of the public sphere in the seventeenth century, by focusing on how public opinion is produced in the movement of information between media and between receivers. It contends that the scholarly preoccupation with a public sphere viewed exclusively in terms of politics obscures the fact that contemporaries did not distinguish between politics and subjects such as crime in their newsgathering. Examining the case study of James Turner, a burglar in the 1660s who became a cause celebre in London and beyond, this article shows how crime news were eagerly exchanged, informing discussions and constructing public opinion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-564
Number of pages16
JournalCultural and Social History
Issue number5
Early online date18 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

I would like to thank Mark Jenner, Helen Smith, Simon Ditchfield, Lucy Sackville, Jim Sharpe, Bill Naphy, and Antonis Liapis for reading versions of this article. I would also like to thank those who listened to versions of this at conferences and provided useful comments; Ioanna Iordanou deserves a special mention here.


  • Public Sphere
  • Print Culture
  • Public Opinion
  • London
  • Early Modern
  • Crime
  • News Culture


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