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This chapter aims to demonstrate the importance of spelling analysis at the micro-level, by examining the spelling practices of early modern women letter-writers through the lens of new media research. The authors offer an innovative perspective on English spelling practices that considers historical variation using concepts initially developed for new media writing. The examination of spelling in terms of micro-level practices offers new insights into the development of English spelling, especially in respect of finding thematic and functional correlations, as well as potential continuities between sixteenth- and twenty-first-century orthographic practices. The chapter draws on the combined expertise of its authors in the language of new media and Early Modern English to provide a new reading of spelling variation at the micro-level.
Chapter 7 looks at how non-royal subjects quoted and reported the texts of their monarch, focussing on evidence from epistolary materials. Letter-writers show a preference for indirect reports, with direct quotation the preserve of those with first-hand access to the monarch. The findings suggest that royal speech was reported primarily for its propositional meaning, rather than its lexico-grammatical form. Royal writing, on the other hand, appears more likely to have been copied out in full, providing a more faithful reproduction of the original text. These practices are considered in relation to the evolving reporting system in early modern English, and their implications for our understanding of how language was conceptualised in the period.
The final analytic chapter looks at royal reported discourse in historical chronicles: printed texts intended for a large, public audience. Focussing on three chronicles' accounts of the reign of Henry VII, the study finds that rhetorical principles inform the depiction of royal voices in the texts. In general, there is no clear distinction made between royal and non-royal reports, with discourse representation more obviously driven by narrative concerns e.g. narrative peaking. However, two lengthy orations of Richard III and Henry VII, found in Grafton's chronicle, are considered in detail. The formulaic characteristics of Tudor royal texts are most evident in Richard III's oratory, whereas Henry VII has a less institutionalised rhetoric. The findings point to the accepted creativity of discourse representation in historiography in the period, and the salience of key features of the royal voice when undertaking this creative work.
This chapter undertakes a corpus linguistic exploration of the royal correspondence material, following the scribal/holograph division of the previous chapter. Using keyword analysis and lexical bundles, the analysis identifies features that firstly, differentiate royal correspondence from its non-royal counterpart; and secondly, differentiate scribal and holograph royal letters. The evidence correlates with the material analysis in Chapter 2, with formulaicity and consistency key elements of scribal letters which may have indexed a more overt and institutionalised royal power. Holograph letters, on the other hand, show a more variable and idiosyncratic make-up, providing a more personal frame to the epistolary interaction with a letter's recipient.
Chapter 3 looks at three pragmatic properties of royal correspondence: metacommunication, self-reference and regulative speech acts. Each feature reflects how royal correspondence constructs the relationship between sovereign and subject, and the extralinguistic context in which the letters operate. The evidence for metacommunication indicates that royal correspondence draw attention to their processes of composition, their material worth, and the intended nature of their reception. Scribal letters foregrounded their legal legitimacy, whereas holograph documents point to the personal investment of the author. Self-reference highlights the pragmatic affordances of royal we as a distinctive pronominal option of royal correspondence, particularly in scribal letters. The discussion of regulative speech acts, such as directives, illustrates the formulaicity of these pragmatic acts, with different degrees of directness operating in scribal and holograph letter types.
Chapter 2 explores the material properties of royal correspondence, focussing on evidence that correlates with the scribal/holograph provenance of the texts. Five features are examined in a corpus of over 100 royal letters issued by the Tudor monarchs: material provenance markers, handwriting, page orientation, signature placement, and signature style. The chapter finds that royal scribal letters have distinctive material features that make their royal source explicit, with these characteristics used very consistently throughout the Tudor period. Holograph royal letters show a reduced propensity to follow these material codes, and instead show a greater individuality more typical of non-royal letter-writing in the period. The differences are proposed to arise from the different production processes of the letter types, affecting the degree of institutionalised power presented to the letter's recipient. Elizabeth's correspondence shows a wider variation in material choices than that of her predecessors, potentially indicative of shifts in how correspondence was utilised, and the values placed on holograph writing by the end of the sixteenth century.
Chapter 5 surveys non-royal discourse for evidence of how royal texts, and their material and linguistic properties, were recognised, understood and used by Tudor subjects. The chapter looks first at the documented afterlives of many royal texts, via manuscript circulation and publication, before examining metacommunicative remarks relating to royal letters and proclamations in manuscript letters and printed texts of the period. Proclamations have a wider range of discussion, likely reflecting their more public profile and dissemination, but both types of texts are used to justify the actions of the writer.
The three case studies in this chapter provide evidence of the integral role of communicative practices associated with the royal voice in making claims for monarchic power. After providing an overview of the concept of imposture and imitation in the period, the discussion looks at the documentation used in the attempts of Perkin Warbeck, Edward Seymour and Jane Grey as part of their attempts to claim (some aspect of) royal status. Comparison with the authentic materials illustrates the salience of particular visual and linguistic features, including handwriting, layout, formulaicity and self-reference, for the assumption of power. The chapter offers a new perspective on the so-called egotism of Edward Seymour, Lord Protector, as well as testifying to the sophistication of Warbeck and Grey's respective efforts for the English throne.
This chapter provides an overview of the key theoretical concepts that inform the analysis and argument of the book. The main focus is on the practices of royal power in the sixteenth century, particularly in the variable experiences subjects would have had of their monarch (i.e . social rank, literacy), and on the sociolinguistic concepts that underpin the notion of 'royal voices'. The latter includes a summary of enregisterment, register, entextualisation and other theoretical concepts that inform the interpretation of the linguistic and visual evidence. The chapter concludes with a summary of the material collected for analysis in chapters 1-8.
This chapter conducts a material and linguistic analysis of royal Tudor proclamations, considering how the properties of the genre inform the performance of power in a text designed to be both spoken and seen. The analysis considers material features, such as layout, oversize initials and typeface, alongside key linguistic properties, including lexical bundles and nominal and pronominal references to monarch and subject. The findings are compared against the those for royal correspondence. The chapter proposes that proclamations underwent a process of epistolarization in the Tudor period, becoming more interactive and directly representative of the monarch's prerogative.
The concluding chapters summarises the key findings of the book, its main theoretical and methodological contributions, and some potential directions for future research. It reflects on the benefits of working with historical data in interdisciplinary ways.