1st Edition

The Circulation of Poetry in Manuscript in Early Modern England

By Arthur F. Marotti Copyright 2021
    420 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    420 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This study examines the transmission and compilation of poetic texts through manuscripts from the late-Elizabethan era through the mid-seventeenth century, paying attention to the distinctive material, social, and literary features of these documents.

    The study has two main focuses: the first, the particular social environments in which texts were compiled and, second, the presence within this system of a large body of (usually anonymous) rare or unique poems. Manuscripts from aristocratic, academic, and urban professional environments are examined in separate chapters that highlight particular collections. Two chapters consider the social networking within the university and London that facilitated the transmission within these environments and between them. Although the topic is addressed throughout the study, the place of rare or unique poems in manuscript collections is at the center of the final three chapters.

    The book as a whole argues that scholars need to pay more attention to the social life of texts in the period and to little-known or unknown rare or unique poems that represent a field of writing broader than that defined in a literary history based mainly on the products of print culture.


    1. Introduction: The Manuscript Circulation of Poetry in Early Modern England


    Single Manuscripts in their Social Environments

    2. Courtly and Satellite Courtly Culture: Folger MS V.a.89

    3. The Inns of Court and London: Chaloner Chute’s Poetical Anthology (British Library, Additional MS 33998)

    4. Neighborhood, Social Networks, and the Making of a Gentry Family’s Manuscript

    Poetry Collection: British Library MS Additional 25707

    5. Oxford University and Beyond: Folger MS V.a.345 and its Manuscript and Print



    Multiple Manuscripts Circulating in Different Environments

    6. "Rolling Archetypes": Christ Church, Oxford Poetry Collections, and the Proliferation of Manuscript Verse Anthologies in Caroline England

    7. The Manuscript Circulation of Poetic Texts at the Inns of Court and in London


    Rare or Unique Poems in Manuscript Collection

    8. Rare or Unique Poems in Early Modern English Manuscripts

    9. Rare or Unique Poems in British Library MS Sloane 1446

    10. Fugitive Sonnets in Seventeenth-Century Manuscript Collections




    Arthur F. Marotti is Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Wayne State University and currently Director of its Emeritus Academy. He is the author of John Donne, Coterie Poet (1986; rpt. 2008), Manuscript, Print, and the English Renaissance Lyric (1995), Religious Ideology and Cultural Fantasy: Catholic and Anti-Catholic Discourses in Early Modern England (2005), and (with Steven W. May) Ink, Stink Bait, Revenge, and Queen Elizabeth: A Yorkshire Yeoman’s Household Book (2014). He has edited or co-edited eleven collections of essays and written numerous articles and book chapters on early modern English poetry and drama and on early modern English Catholicism. He is currently working with Steven W. May and Joshua Eckhardt on an edition of rare or unique poems found in early modern English manuscripts.