Perhaps more than any other kind of book, manuscript miscellanies require a complex and ’material’ reading strategy. This collection of essays engages the renewed and expanding interest in early modern English miscellanies, anthologies, and other compilations. Manuscript Miscellanies in Early Modern England models and refines the study of these complicated collections. Several of its contributors question and redefine the terms we use to describe miscellanies and anthologies. Two senior scholars correct the misidentification of a scribe and, in so doing, uncover evidence of a Catholic, probably Jesuit, priest and community in a trio of manuscripts. Additional contributors show compilers interpreting, attributing, and arranging texts, as well as passively accepting others’ editorial decisions. While manuscript verse miscellanies remain appropriately central to the collection, several essays also involve print and prose, ranging from letters to sermons and even political prophesies. Using extensive textual and bibliographical evidence, the collection offers stimulating new readings of literature, politics, and religion in the early modern period, and promises to make important interventions in academic studies of the history of the book.
'... a wide ranging collection of essays which explore the significant and sometimes subaltern manuscript culture of sixteenth- and especially seventeenth-century England.' Journal of Jesuit Studies 'The book poses numerous helpful questions about how we read miscellanies that did not conceive of themselves as miscellaneous, and how they might prompt us to rethink our own habits of reading.' Times Literary Supplement 'This fine study ... deserves to occupy a prominent place in the literature. Featuring a range of established and emerging scholars, it displays a potent blend of panoptic perspective - the theoretical issues raised by miscellany production and reception, such as material and social textuality - and forensic textual anaylsis.' Review of English Studies