In Praise of Scribes: Manuscripts and their Makers in Seventeenth-Century England

Hardcover | July 1, 1998

byPeter Beal

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In Praise of Scribes is a major contribution to the field of manuscript studies in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This profusely illustrated book argues for the significant role played by clerks and scriveners both in contemporary society and in the transmissional history ofliterary texts. Specific case studies are offered of a remarkably industrious contributor to the ferment of ideas leading to the Civil War (the so-called 'Feathery Scribe'), as well as of the notorious 'Captain' Robert Julian in the Restoration period. Other case studies exemplify the wide-rangingempirical use which is to be made of material texts, and shed new light on works by Sir Philip Sidney, John Donne, and Katherine Philips, writers who flourished in a manuscript culture. The book explores questions about the nature of that culture vis a vis print culture, about constructions ofauthorship, and about the complex nature of texts themselves in an evolving society and changing readership.

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From the Publisher

In Praise of Scribes is a major contribution to the field of manuscript studies in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This profusely illustrated book argues for the significant role played by clerks and scriveners both in contemporary society and in the transmissional history ofliterary texts. Specific case studies are offer...

Author of the 3-volume Index of English Literary Manuscripts (Bowker and Mansell), which is the scholarly reference book in the field and will be known to every likely purchaser for our book.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:339 pages, 9.69 × 7.44 × 0.94 inPublished:July 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198184719

ISBN - 13:9780198184713

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsList of Abbreviations1. In praise of scribes2. `It shall not therefore kill itself; that is, not bury itself': Donne's Biathanatos and its text3. The Feathery Scribe4. `Hoping they shall only come to your merciful eyes': Sidney's Letter to Queen Elizabeth and its transmission5. `The virtuous Mrs Philips' and 'that whore Castlemaine': Orinda and her Apotheosis, 1664-1668Appendix I. Seventeenth-century characters of clerks and scrivenersAppendix II. Manuscripts by the Feathery ScribeAppendix III. Catalogue of papers in Ralph Starkey's studyAppendix IV. Manuscript texts of Sidney's Letter to Queen ElizabethAppendix V. Katherine Philips's letter to Lady FletcherAppendix VI. John Taylor's verse satire on Katherine PhilipsIndex of manuscripts citedBibliographyGeneral Index

Editorial Reviews

`the case-studies are fascinating ... The book is highly readable, and Beal's decision to retain something of the collquial style of delivery of the lectures thoroughly welcome, as it has the effect of enlivening often technical matters, drawing the reader in to the intricacies of thepaleographer's detective world. It is a beautifully produced volume worthy of the scribes it celebrates.'Ian W Archer, Archives