English News in Papal Rome: Cross-Confessional Information Exchange in Reformation Europe

In: Journal of Early Modern History
Charles R. Keenan The University of Michigan

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This essay argues that confessional differences had a direct impact on the circulation of news in early modern Europe. By examining how the Roman curia struggled to gather information about England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, it demonstrates how the Reformation both shaped and limited the information-gathering channels available to the papacy. The article begins by examining the various means by which the curia sought to collect news about English affairs, including via apostolic nuncios, Jesuits, and lay intelligencers, although fears of misinformation and imposters were always present. It then investigates the death of Elizabeth in 1603 as a case study to explore how quickly, and by what means, the Roman curia was able to verify news of a major event in a Protestant land.

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