Swann, Joel (2012) A study of the copying, dissemination and collection of manuscript texts in early seventeenth century, with special reference to Chetham's Library MS A.4.15. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

This thesis presents a series of studies in early modern manuscript culture based on Chetham’s Library MS A.4.15 (MC15). These studies develop an understanding of the reception of texts in manuscripts through an analysis of their copying, dissemination and collection: concepts which are linked by their treatment of manuscripts collections as texts whose processes of production are indelibly registered in their physical form.

Chapter 1 reviews the methods by which scholars have engaged with manuscript collections, and proposes that a series of ‘object studies’ based on texts from MC15 is a strong way of engaging with the collection, allowing ready comparisons of diverse material characteristics. Chapter 2 extends these arguments through close analysis of the processes of production of several manuscript collections, culminating in an extended critical description of MC15.

Chapters 3 to 6 read a series of texts of MC15 in comparison with other copies. Chapter 3 argues that handwriting analysis gives essential evidence for different modes of copying epigrams, and suggests the ways in which they are significant. Chapter 4 presents an account of a verse libel that was copied many times in the seventeenth century; building on the work of the previous chapter, it argues that the material dimension of manuscript libels have a great deal to offer more general narratives of early Stuart history. Chapter 5 concerns letters of the second Earl of Essex, whose reception in various combinations of material in manuscript collections are best contextualised through readings found in print. Chapter 6, a study of metrical psalms, contextualizes the very limited dissemination of metrical psalms by amateur and professional scribes within a ‘psalm culture’ dominated by print.

Taken collectively, the chapters of this thesis attest to the heterogeneity of MC15 as a collection; through their attention to processes of copying, dissemination and collection, they demonstrate some of the most characteristic features of early modern manuscripts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship The Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Michael Debenham
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2015 11:48
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2015 11:48
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/1184

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