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Title: Women and seventeenth-century manuscript culture : miscellanies, commonplace books, and song books compiled by English and Scottish women, 1600-1660
Author: Burke, Victoria Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0001 3510 1950
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1996
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The thesis analyzes the extent to which English and Scottish women participated in the thriving manuscript culture of the first half of the seventeenth century. It considers in detail the manuscripts of four women, paying particular attention to the poetry they have chosen to copy, alter, or create. In the first three chapters the following manuscripts are examined: the commonplace book of Ann Bowyer (Bodleian Library Ashmole MS 51), Lady Anne Southwell's miscellany (Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.b.198), and the miscellany of Constance Aston Fowler (Huntington Library MS HM 904). The fourth chapter examines women's participation in the musical life of England and Scotland, with a special focus on the song book of Lady Margaret Wemyss (National Library of Scotland Dep. 314/23). Each of these manuscripts reflects in some way the personality of its compiler, but also the literary community of which she formed a part. This thesis considers both the material communities of like-minded people to which these women had access, and also the intellectual literary networks in which women could participate. Women from the "middling sort," the gentry, and the aristocracy are all represented in the sample of manuscripts examined in the thesis. Puritan, via media or "Anglican," and Catholic positions are evident from the manuscripts. The women who compiled them lived in England, Ireland, and Scotland. A remarkably large range of women participated in manuscript culture, but the factors of class, religious affiliation, and location influenced the type of literary worlds which these women could tap into. Poems circulating in manuscript often invited alteration, appropriation, and response. I argue that manuscript circulation could offer women and men a malleable medium for their reading and writing, but that this type of literary dissemination has particular significance for women, who traditionally were not encouraged to express themselves through the written word.
Supervisor: Black, Glenn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Women authors, Scottish--17th century ; Songbooks, English ; Songbooks, Scottish ; Commonplace books ; Women--Books and reading--History--17th century ; Women authors, English--17th century