Dr Chris Stamatakis (UCL)
Full day - from 10.00 to 17.00
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Senate House

This course will offer participants an opportunity to practise transcribing a variety of literary manuscripts written in English in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These texts will include examples of both poetry and prose, and we will in addition look at a selection of marginalia appended to both manuscript and printed works. Each of the passages analysed contains intriguing puzzles and exciting scribal practices. In the second half of the day, we will turn our attention to some of the theoretical, and practical, challenges involved in editing such documents. We will discuss the fascinating ways in which transcription, editing, and literary criticism are all entwined in these case studies. In addition, we will explore variant copies of a given poem and in the final hour we will consider some computer-based methods for mapping out relations between variant manuscripts of a given text. An ability to read early modern hands (secretary, italic, mixed) is not essential but would be useful, since much of the course will involve close scrutiny of early modern manuscript texts.


Early modern English manuscript culture

Beal, Peter, In Praise of Scribes: Manuscripts and their Makers in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998)

Beal, Peter, A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology, 1450–2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Love, Harold, Scribal Publication in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993)

Marotti, Arthur F., Manuscript, Print, and the English Renaissance Lyric (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995)

Woudhuysen, H.R., Sir Philip Sidney and the Circulation of Manuscripts, 1558-1640 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), of which concentrate on Part I, ‘The Circulation of Manuscripts, 1558-1640’


How to read early modern handwriting

Dawson, Giles E. and Laetitia Kennedy-Skipton, Elizabethan Handwriting 1500–1650: A Guide to the Reading of Documents and Manuscripts (London, Faber, 1968)

English Handwriting, 1500–1700: an online course: www.english.cam.ac.uk/ceres/ehoc 

The National Archives, Palaeography: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography 


Editing early modern manuscripts

Hunter, Michael, ‘How to Edit a Seventeenth-Century Manuscript: Principles and Practice’, The Seventeenth Century 10 (1995): 277–310

Hunter, Michael, Editing Early Modern Texts: An Introduction to Principles and Practice (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007; repr. 2009)

Tanselle, G. Thomas, ‘The Editing of Historical Documents’, Studies in Bibliography 31 (1978): 1–56


Early modern spelling and punctuation

Lass, Roger, ed., The Cambridge History of the English Language, Volume III: 1476-1776 (Cambridge: C.U.P., 1999): see esp. Vivian Salmon, ‘Orthography and Punctuation’ 

Salmon, Vivian, ‘The Spelling and Punctuation of Shakespeare’s Time’, in Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, eds., William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. Original Spelling Edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986)


Student Comments

Coverage was great. I liked the mix of letters, diary entries, diplomatic materials and account books.

We worked through a lot for one day.... The speed was not too rapid or too slow, but the perfect Goldilocks combination.

Chris Stamatakis received a B.A. in 2004, an M.St. the following year (English Literature, 1550-1780), and in 2008 was awarded a D.Phil. ('Sir Thomas Wyatt and Early Tudor Literary Practice'), all from Lincoln College, Oxford. From 2009 to 2011, he held a Junior Research Fellowship at Lincoln College and was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for a project entitled 'Denizened Wit: Tudor Reinventions of Italian Verse'. During this time, he also carried out research at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, as a visiting fellow, before joining the Department of English Language and Literature at UCL as a Teaching Fellow in 2011 and as a Lecturer in 2013.