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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: September 2020

Chapter 13 - Manuscript Culture

from Part II - Approaches

Summary

Studying puritan literature requires a sense of the erratic paths that seventeenth-century New England writing take in the world as well as the material contexts that give rise to more or less stable texts gathered up in anthologies and modern editions. The aim of this chapter is to elaborate the ways that the logic of manuscript culture informs puritan literary culture across material genres, using the poet Anne Bradstreet’s unusual case to elucidate typical means of manuscript practice, production, and circulation. A bit of knowledge of manuscript culture, its generic and practical conventions, and its role in the larger world of “colonial mediascapes” can go a long way in enabling new insights and more nuanced readings of puritan texts derived from various original sources.

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