Manuscript Miscellanies in Early Modern England: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Manuscript Miscellanies in Early Modern England

1st Edition

By Joshua Eckhardt, Daniel Starza Smith


272 pages

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pub: 2014-08-19
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Perhaps more than any other kind of book, manuscript miscellanies require a complex and ’material’ reading strategy. This collection of essays engages the renewed and expanding interest in early modern English miscellanies, anthologies, and other compilations. Manuscript Miscellanies in Early Modern England models and refines the study of these complicated collections. Several of its contributors question and redefine the terms we use to describe miscellanies and anthologies. Two senior scholars correct the misidentification of a scribe and, in so doing, uncover evidence of a Catholic, probably Jesuit, priest and community in a trio of manuscripts. Additional contributors show compilers interpreting, attributing, and arranging texts, as well as passively accepting others’ editorial decisions. While manuscript verse miscellanies remain appropriately central to the collection, several essays also involve print and prose, ranging from letters to sermons and even political prophesies. Using extensive textual and bibliographical evidence, the collection offers stimulating new readings of literature, politics, and religion in the early modern period, and promises to make important interventions in academic studies of the history of the book.


'… a wide ranging collection of essays which explore the significant and sometimes subaltern manuscript culture of sixteenth- and especially seventeenth-century England.' Journal of Jesuit Studies 'The book poses numerous helpful questions about how we read miscellanies that did not conceive of themselves as miscellaneous, and how they might prompt us to rethink our own habits of reading.' Times Literary Supplement 'This fine study … deserves to occupy a prominent place in the literature. Featuring a range of established and emerging scholars, it displays a potent blend of panoptic perspective - the theoretical issues raised by miscellany production and reception, such as material and social textuality - and forensic textual anaylsis.' Review of English Studies

Table of Contents

Before (and after) the miscellany: reconstructing Donne's Satyres in the Conway Papers

Daniel Starza Smith

Donne, rhapsody and textual order

Piers Brown

Early modern letter-books, miscellanies and the reading and reception of scribally copied letters

James Daybell

The rector of Santon Downham and the hieroglyphical watch of Prague,

Noah Millstone

Unlocking the mysteries of Constance Aston Fowler's verse miscellany (Huntington Library MS HM 904): the Hand B scribe identified

Helen Hackett

William Smith et al.

Attribution and anonymity: Donne, Ralegh, and Fletcher in British Library, Stowe MS 962

Lara M. Crowley

Copying epigrams in manuscript miscellanies

Joel Swann

Camden's Remaines and a pair of epideictic poetry anthologies

Joshua Eckhardt

'The disagreeable figure of a common-place' in Katherine Butler's late 17th-century verse miscellany

Victoria E. Burke

About the Authors

Joshua Eckhardt is Associate Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Daniel Starza Smith is British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford.

About the Series

Material Readings in Early Modern Culture

Material Readings in Early Modern Culture

This series provides a forum for studies that consider the material forms of texts as part of an investigation into early modern English culture. The editors invite proposals of a multi- or interdisciplinary nature, and particularly welcome proposals that combine archival research with an attention to the theoretical models that might illuminate the reading, writing, and making of texts, as well as projects that take innovative approaches to the study of material texts, both in terms the kinds of primary materials under investigation, and in terms of methodologies. What are the questions that have yet to be asked about writing in its various possible embodied forms? Are there varieties of materiality that are critically neglected? How does form mediate and negotiate content? In what ways do the physical features of texts inform how they are read, interpreted and situated? Consideration will be given to both monographs and collections of essays. The range of topics covered in this series includes, but is not limited to:

-History of the book, publishing, the book trade, printing, typography (layout, type, typeface, blank/white space, paratextual apparatus)

-Technologies of the written word: ink, paper, watermarks, pens, presses

-Surprising or neglected material forms of writing

-Print culture


-Manuscript studies

-Social space, context, location of writing

-Social signs, cues, codes imbued within the material forms of texts

-Ownership and the social practices of reading: marginalia, libraries, environments of reading and reception

-Codicology, palaeography and critical bibliography

-Production, transmission, distribution and circulation

-Archiving and the archaeology of knowledge

-Orality and oral culture

-The material text as object or thing

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