Richard Overton

(943 words)
  • Roger Pooley (University of Keele)

Richard Overton was a key member of the Leveller movement in the 1640s; he was a gifted satirist and pamphleteer. The centrepiece of his writing, the Martin Marpriest tracts, deserve an honoured place in the history of seventeenth century prose for their energy and humour. In his work jointly authored with other Leveller leaders Overton is also a political thinker of some originality

There is no reliable information about his early life. He may have matriculated at Queen's College, Cambridge in 1631; he may have been a clergyman for a time, or fought in the Bishops Wars. However, he seems to have begun writing in the 1640s. Vox Borealis, a pro-Scottish pamphlet in verse, is probably his first, though it is not …

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Pooley, Roger. "Richard Overton". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 May 2005
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]