The manuscript miscellany in early Stuart England : a study of British Library Manuscript Additional 22601 and related texts
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This thesis is an intensive study of a manuscript miscellany dating from the early years of the reign of James VI and 1: British Library Manuscript Additional 22601. Compiled by someone who had close links to the court, but who was also likely to have been associated with the Inns of Court and possibly with the south-west of England, the miscellany contains verse (including that of King James) and prose in a wide range of genres, with a particular interest in the political culture of the period. My thesis provides a description of the manuscript's contents as a whole and then goes on to focus on texts from three specific genres: the letter, political prose, and poetry. Studying these individually and in their immediate context, it goes on to trace their appearance in a number of other contemporary miscellanies held in British and North American archives. The two primary contentions of the thesis are (1) that manuscript miscellanies need to be treated as coherent wholes, whose arrangement to some extent determines the meaning of the texts they contain and (2) that in the process of transmission from one manuscript to another texts and their meanings are significantly modified. The act of transcription is thus also an act of interpretation. Building on work by Peter Beal, Mary Hobbs, Harold Love, Henry Woudhuysen and others, the thesis aims to expand our understanding both of the culture of scribal publication and of the ways in which that culture engaged with the political, religious and literary life of the nation.
AuthorsReardon, Maria Louise
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