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The University of Southampton
Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research

The miscellaneous mind: three manuscript notebooks from the Fellows’ Library of Winchester College Seminar

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16 May 2018
65/1177, Avenue Campus

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Mary Andrew at .

Event details

Part of the SCNR Seminar Series for 2017-18.

‘Mapping the mind’ is the phrase Lucia Dacome employs to describe traditional 17th-century commonplacing; in this paper I aim to use it as a way of reading three far less orderly manuscripts, dating from the early 18th century to 1822. They differ not only in content but in material form: the first is palm-sized, small enough to slip into a pocket; the second is hard-bound and heavy, designed perhaps to sit on a desk; the third, beautifully bound in reverse calf, suggests the semi-privacy of a drawer, its allure both commemorative and secretive. Their relative sizes suit their apparent purposes. The pocketbook is the property of a young woman attached to the household of Lady Anne Coventry, and contains both original and transcribed material, revealing her surprising degree of participation in local and national literary activity. The second manuscript is what Margaret Ezell calls a ‘messy book’: its position as part of a public space is suggested by its multiple uses and many hands; whereas the third was purchased when he was seventeen by its owner and author, Thomas le Mesurier of Guernsey, as a place of conscious record for his life in verse. The notebooks reveal intersections between print and manuscript culture over the course of a century, and allow us to draw some conclusions about the history of reading, and the role that poetry is playing in each life.

Speaker information

Lucia Quinalt, Winchester College. Winchester College

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