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Modern Palaeography

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Wim Van Mierlo

on 12 June 2017

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Transcript of Modern Palaeography

Wim Van Mierlo
Modern Palaeography and Codicology
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
The components of the manuscript
aspects that influence the development of handwriting
A Survey of the Development of Handwriting,
1650 - 2000

1650-1750
William Bradford
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
William Wordsworth
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
What does handwriting tell us?
George Crabbe
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
William Wordsworth
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Modern Codicology
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Distinguishing features
width and length
thickness
watermarks
chain lines (laid v. wove paper)
colour
rugosity
transparency
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Matching pages to a notebook - Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Dating the genetic dossier
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Thank you
W.Van-Mierlo@lboro.ac.uk
Twitter @wvmierlo

How is 'modern' palaeography different?
classical/mediaeval
identify origin of MS:
place and date
scribe
decipher abbreviations
modern
identify authors/differentiate between authors (cp. forensics)
understand abbreviations (in special contexts)
learn how to decipher a hand
understand and interpret the 'space' of the manuscript
the text
the document
form and function
physical attributes
the historical and cultural context
- calligraphy: aesthetics/taste
- education:
taste as well as ease of writing influenced educational models promoted by writing-masters
no universally-used model at any one time
- writing tools:
the biggest, single factor that causes handwriting to change over time
change caused particularly by increased ease/speed of new inventions (e.g. fountain pen)
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
The writing-masters
taught handwriting or “penmanship” and published “copy-books” or “ABCs”
late-16th/early-17th century: writing-masters associated with Chancery and the Courts who sold their services for legal profession and elsewhere

Peter Bales ran a writing school near the Old Bailey. Advertised: ‘you may have anything faire written in any kind of hand, usuall, and bookes of copies faire as you shall bespeake’.
He was the author of
The Writing School-master, in three Parts
(1590): swift, true and fair writing -- brachygraphy (shorthand), orthography, calligraphy.
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
The writing-masters
throughout 18C publication of copy-books proliferated
on one hand: despised as mechanical, not practicing a true art.
on other hand: writing-masters directed their attention at commercial and business world: good business practice requires clear, legible records.
ironically, writing was taught from models that had been printed/engraved
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
The writing-masters
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
“Collectively, the handwriting of a population of any period is a reflection of educational thinking, but overall it is influenced and ultimately moulded by economic need, social habits and contemporary taste” (Rosemary Sassoon, Handwriting of the Twentieth Century, p.9).
Models
v.
performance
John Milton
1750-1850
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
The writing-masters
George Fisher,
The Instructor, or American Young Man's Best Companion Containing Spelling, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetick
(Published by Isaiah Thomas, Worcester, 1786)
George Crabbe
1850-1890
Charles Dickens
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
1890-1910
George Moore
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
1910 and after
John Betjeman
Thomas Hardy
T. S. Eliot
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
1910 and after
W. B. Yeats
Ted Hughes
George Crabbe
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Why it is still relevant to understand historical letter-forms?
John Keats
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
? Thomas Harris
(1667)
Wordsworth, "Work like"
(1798)
Keats, "cheek"
(1818)
Keats, "keep"
(1817)
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
Is it just handwriting from which we can draw palaeographical conclusions?
Medieval & Modern Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age
T. S. Eliot
The manuscripts and typescripts of T. S. Eliot's
The Waste Land

identifying typewriters
analysing papers and identifying paper types
collating paper types against dated correspondence
E-mail: W.Van-Mierlo@lboro.ac.uk
Twitter: @wvmierlo
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