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Title: Gnomic marking in English printed dramas, 1570-1623
Author: Blackburn, Nicholas Robin
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
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In 1951, G. K. Hunter wrote a piece for The Library drawing readers’ attention to certain kinds of marks in the margins of Elizabethan and Jacobean texts. Particular passages were emphasised, mainly using comma-shaped markings or a change of font. This thesis presents a thoroughly revised and expanded account of the field which Hunter first explored, establishing a grammar for reading marks which critical editions have rendered for the most part invisible. By situating gnomic marking in its historical context, from the first uses of the diple [“] by the Greek scholar Aristarchus, the thesis shows how it was the general uses which persisted into the early modern period. While Hunter suggested that emphatic marking was primarily attached to rhetorical figures, it is shown that printed marks were used by authors to achieve a rich variety of semantic effects and by their readers to create personal editions. The first chapter provides the historical background to early modern marking, from its Greek origins through its transmission across the medieval period to its adoption by continental printers and subsequent arrival in England. The way features of mis-en-page were translated along with the text of editions of Terence, Seneca, Chaucer and Robert Garnier is shown to be the primary factor for the development of marking practices, particularly when the annotations of previous readers were accidentally fossilised as printed marks. This lays the foundation for the thesis as a whole, where printed emphases stand witness to lost networks of readers and the circulation and emulation of valued editions. The second and third chapters present a detailed survey of the surviving marks in dramatic editions of the Elizabethan and Jacobean period, the developing role of publishers in calibrating mis-en-page to suit contemporary readers and shows how authors used marking as part of their overall style.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available