Whose Letters Are They Anyway? Addressing the Issue of Scribal Writing in Bess of Hardwick’s Early Modern English Letters.

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Abstract

Although often associated with the medieval period, scribes were still widely employed between 1500 and 1700, and grammatical, lexical, orthographic and palaeographical variation was still widespread. This chapter presents a scribal profiling technique that was designed to distinguish between groups of letters written by different scribes in a corpus of Early Modern English (hence EModE) personal correspondence to and from Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, c.1527 – 1608, also known as Bess of Hardwick and henceforth referred to in this chapter as Bess. It argues that scribal composition had a greater influence upon the language used within Early Modern English letters than has previously been assumed, and suggests that scribal profiling can be a way to take such influence into account before and during linguistic analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReading the Page: Verbal and Visual Communication in Early English Texts
EditorsMarco Mostert
Place of PublicationUtrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy (as USML 37)
PublisherBrepols
ISBN (Print)978-2-503-57464-6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2017

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