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Interpreting Practice: Scribes, Materials, and Occupational Identities 1560-1640

Lilley, Hannah (2019) Interpreting Practice: Scribes, Materials, and Occupational Identities 1560-1640. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:77091)

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Language: English

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Abstract

In recent years, the materials used in textual production have been understood to be essential to a manuscript's interpretation. In occupational contexts, for which the vast majority of our archives survive, very little work has been done on the way in which materials are used and negotiated by scribes writing for a living. This thesis develops methodologies for interpreting scribal practice within occupational contexts, and asks how a scribe's writing practices might be understood as embedded within spatial and material worlds.

The methodology developed to understand scribal practice uses recent theoretical approaches to craft and skill, alongside literary and material analysis. These methods are enhanced by, and placed in conversation with, a digital method, Image Processing, used to analyse handwriting, and quantitative data on manuscript materials and their deployment. These approaches are used in the analysis of four categories of scribes writing for a living in early modern England: arms-drawers, clerks, officeholders, and servants. Within these categories, making contexts are explored with individual scribes or groups of scribes and their work situated within wider patterns of practices. This thesis is concerned with scrutinising scribal experiences, practices, and skills, as they are interrelated with writing contexts. The diversity of a scribe's work means that this thesis engages with multiple textual forms, scripts, storage methods, spaces and individuals, where occupational identities are created through patterns of practice. Yet, these occupational identities are also fragile and malleable when they collide with individual scribes' deliberate or accidental innovative textual performance.

Above all, this thesis seeks to centralise scribes as active participants in the creation of archives, to dissect their administrative, material, and textual practices and interpret their meanings. Focusing on the scribal practices of those often below the level of the elite and writing as part of their occupation transforms how textual culture, craft, and archival presence (or absence) are understood. Scribes are placed within a spatial context where their social world, physical abilities and constraints, and materials for writing entwine in the making of text.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Richardson, Catherine
Thesis advisor: Guest, Richard
Uncontrolled keywords: Manuscripts, Early Modern, Early Modern Studies, Digital Humanities, Image Processing, Material Culture, Material Texts, Clerks, Servants, Arms Drawers, Officeholders, Textual Culture, Sixteenth Century, Seventeenth Century, Secretary Hand, Italic Hand, Handwriting, Script, Spaces, Materials, Practice, Writing, Making
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D203 Modern History, 1453-
Divisions: Faculties > University wide - Teaching/Research Groups > Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2019 08:10 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2020 04:12 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/77091 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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