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Week 1: England on the Edge: William Davenant, Salmacida Spolia (1640) and Richard Brome, A Jovial Crew (1641).

Week 2: Print and Politics: John Milton, Areopagitica (1644).

Week 3: The Old Country and the New: Anne Bradstreet, poems from The Tenth Muse (1650) to include: ‘The Prologue’; extracts from ‘The Four Monarchies’; ‘A Dialogue Between Old England and New, Concerning their Present Troubles, Anno 1642’; ‘An Elegy Upon that Honourable and Renowned Knight, Sir Philip Sidney’ [1650 version]; ‘In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth, of Most Happy Memory’ -- all in Ross and Scott-Baumann.

Week 4: Leveller Argument: extracts from the Putney Debates in Andrew Sharp ed., The English Levellers (e-book, pp. 92-130); Alexander Brome, ‘The Levellers Rant’ (pdf to be provided).

Week 5: Debating the Regicide: extracts from the Eikon Basilke and Milton's Eikonoklastes (both 1649); poems from Davidson ed. Poetry and Revolution: Anon., ‘King Charles His Speech’ (pp. 332-334); Fairfax, ‘On the Fatal Day’ (pp. 356-357); Montrose, ‘Upon the Death of King Charles the First’ (p. 361); Philips, ‘Upon the Double Murther’ (pp. 483-484); Winstanley, from The Law of Freedom (p. 351). .

Week 7: Early Modern Communism: Gerrard Winstanley, The True Levellers Standard (1650); Digger ballads and poetry from Davidson ed. Poetry and Revolution: from The Breaking of the Day of God (p. 144); from A Mite Cast Into the Common Treasury (pp. 345-348); ‘The Diggers Song’ (pp. 348-350).

Week 8: Prophetic Voices: Abiezer Coppe, A Fiery Flying Roll (1649) and Anna Trapnel, The Cry of a Stone (1654).

Week 9: Republican and Protectoral Poetics: Andrew Marvell, 'An Horatian Ode' (1650) and The First Anniversary (1654); poems in Davidson ed. Poetry and Revolution: John Milton, ‘To the Lord General Cromwell May 1652’ (p. 344); ‘Cromwell’s Coronation’ (pp. 445-446); ‘The State’s New Coin’ (pp. 446-448); Edmund Waller, 'A Panegyric to my Lord Protector' and Lucy Hutchinson's verse response.

Week 10: History and Memory: Dryden, Astraea Redux (1660); Lucy Hutchinson, Elegies (1660s).

Primary Texts for 2020-21

The vast majority of the texts are available electronically either through scans or e-books (see below). The only book I recommend you purchase is: Eikon Basilike, with Selections from Eikonoklastes ed. Holly Faith Nelson and Jim Daems (Broadview, 2006) - we will use this edition for Week 5.

All other primary reading will be available via e-books or scans.

  • Week 1: Salmacida Spolia (scan); Richard Brome, A Jovial Crew (there is a very good text freely available on the Richard Brome Online project (; if you want to buy an edition, get the 2016 Arden edition edited by Tiffany Stern).
  • Week 2: John Milton, Areopagitica (scan)
  • Week 3: Bradstreet's poems (available in Women Poets of the English Civil War eds. Sarah Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester, 2017), which is an e-book).
  • Week 4: Putney Debates (available in The English Levellers ed. Andrew Sharp (Cambridge, 2001), which is an e-book); Alexander Brome (pdf will be provided)
  • Poetry and Revolution ed. Peter Davidson (Oxford, 1996) - we'll dip into this anthology throughout the module but specific poems and page numbers are listed in the syllabus outline above.
  • Week 7: Winstanley (available in Complete Works of Gerrard Winstanley eds. Corns, Loewenstein, and Hughes (Oxford, 2009), which is an e-book).
  • Week 8: Coppe (available in A Collection of Ranter Writings ed. Nigel Smith (Pluto Press, 2014), which is an e-book); Trapnel, The Cry of a Stone (accessible through the database Women Writers Online).
  • Week 9: Marvell poems (scans); all other poems in Davidson except Waller and Hutchinson where pdfs will be provided.
  • Week 10: Dryden (scans); Hutchinson (in Ross and Scott-Baumann).

Suggested secondary reading:

I'd strongly recommend trying to get to grips with the history of the period, though this is a period whose history is extremely contested. There are many books about the period 1640 to 1660 (e.g. Braddick, Royle, Purkiss) but a very readable, and short, introduction is Blair Worden's The English Civil Wars (2010). A longer, extremely comprehensive work is Austin Woolrych's Britain in Revolution, 1625 - 1660 (2004). But see what takes your fancy.

One of the books from whence the module gets its name is Christopher Hill's The World Turned Upside Down (1972), which is still a landmark study even if some of its assumptions have been questioned. The essays in The Oxford Handbook of the Literature of the English Revolution ed. Knoppers (2012) will provide a lot of our critical readings for the lectures and seminars so would be worth sampling. The list below contains some other useful critical and historical texts. A more detailed Talis Aspire reading list is under construction.

Michael Braddick, ed. The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution (2015)

Nigel Smith, Literature and Revolution (1994)

David Cressy, England on the Edge, 1640-42 (2000)

Elizabeth Scott-Baumann and Sarah Ross, ed. Women Poets of the Civil War (2017)

Rachel Foxley, The Levellers: Radical Political Thought (2014)

Nicholas McDowell, The English Radical Imagination (2003)

Robert Wilcher, The Writing of Royalism (2001)

Laura Knoppers, Constructing Cromwell (2000)

Janet Clare ed., From Republic to Restoration (2018)

Kate Chedgzoy, Women’s Writing in the British Atlantic World (2007)

Anne Hughes, Gender in the English Revolution (2012)