Cheap Repository Tracts (230 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • Editors


The enormous popular success of Tom Paine's The Rights of Man (1792), which may have sold as many as 200,000 copies in its first year of publication, made Britain's conservatives and evangelicals aware that the spread of literacy in the working people, notably by Sunday schools (post 1790), was granting them access to radical ideas of the kind that encouraged the Revolution in France. The Cheap Repository Tracts were a strategic ideological response, comprising a series of ballads and tales designed with rakish titles and woodcuts so that they resembled the pamphlets usually sold for a penny or so by itinerant hawkers and chapmen.

The tracts were originated by Hannah More, following the success of her Village …

Editors. "Cheap Repository Tracts". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 April 2005
[, accessed 27 October 2016.]