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Early Modern English palaeography 1500-1700: reading, analysing and editing texts and records


​Deciphering the handwriting of the past is just the first step in the process of presenting it for others to read. This course combines palaeography (the decipherment of Early Modern handwriting) with diplomatic (studying the form that past documents took) and the process of editorial intervention that enables us to present our transcription in a form that makes it accessible to others in a satisfactory scholarly way. The act of transcribing a document is always an act of editing: this day will aim to make that act a planned exercise that achieves the transformation in the best way possible.  This course can be taken on its own or to complement the Introduction to English Palaeography.

Latin not needed (though a smattering is always helpful); texts will all be in English.


Essential reading

Giles Dawson and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton, Elizabethan Handwriting, 1500-1650: A Guide to the   Reading of Documents and Manuscripts (London, 1968; and later reprints)  AND/OR
Paul Harvey, Editing Historical Records (London: British Library, [2001])  AND/OR
Michael Hunter, Editing Early Modern Texts: An Introduction to Principles and Practice (Basingstoke, 2009).


Recommended further reading

DIPPING IN TO:
David Pearson, Provenance Research in Book History (any edition).
Peter Beal, In Praise of Scribes (Oxford, 1998).
H.R. Woudhuysen, Sir Philip Sidney and the Circulation of Manuscripts (Oxford, 1996).

Course tutor