In Praise of Scribes: Early Modern English Manuscript Culture (seminar)

For related articles, consult Manuscripts (disambiguation).

For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a late-spring 2011 seminar led by Peter Beal.

This seminar explored and raised questions about the nature of English manuscript culture from approximately 1550 to 1650. Topics to be discussed will include the impact that printing had on manuscript production; the types of documents, both public and private, that continued to be written by hand, by both men and women; the work of some individual scribes; the raison d’etre of manuscript circulation; matters of authorship; and the textual implications of all this for editors. Participants used electronic and facsimile images of manuscripts in addition to select manuscripts from the Folger’s collections. Familiarity with secretary script was an advantage. Members of the seminar browsed together through selected handouts to discuss some palaeographical matters. Some attention was paid to descriptive terminology for select scripts. Finally, time was allowed for participants to report on the research projects they are undertaking themselves.

Director: Dr. Peter Beal, FBA, FSA, was for 25 years English Manuscript Expert at Sotheby’s, London. He is now Senior Research Fellow in the University of London, where he is building a database Catalogue of English Literary Manuscripts 1450–1700 (CELM). His publications include Index of English Literary Manuscripts 1450-1700 (4 vols, 1980–93); In Praise of Scribes (1998); Elizabeth I and the Culture of Writing (co-edited, 2007); and A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology 1450–2000 (2008). He is co-founder and co-editor of English Manuscript Studies 1100-1700 published annually by the British Library.