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How and Why to Do Things with Eighteenth-Century Manuscripts

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This Element examines eighteenth-century manuscript forms, their functions in the literary landscape of their time, and the challenges and practices of manuscript study today. Drawing on both literary studies and book history, Levy and Schellenberg offer a guide to the principal forms of literary activity carried out in handwritten manuscripts produced in the first era of print dominance, 1730-1820. After an opening survey of sociable literary culture and its manuscript forms, numerous case studies explore what can be learned from three manuscript types: the verse miscellany, the familiar correspondence, and manuscripts of literary works that were printed. A final section considers issues of manuscript remediation up to the present, focusing particularly on digital remediation. The Element concludes with a brief case study of the movement of Phillis Wheatley's poems between manuscript and print. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
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