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    Almanacs, annotators, and life-writing in early modern England

    Smyth, Adam (2008) Almanacs, annotators, and life-writing in early modern England. English Literary Renaissance 38 (2), pp. 200-244. ISSN 0013-8312.

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    Abstract

    An exploration of one of the most common but least studied early modern forms of life-writing, the annotated almanac, is long overdue. Printed almanacs were often interleaved with blank pages, onto which readers added notes of their activities: journeys; illnesses; resolutions. By examining a number of annotated almanacs, and by focusing in particular on the Civil War almanacs of Lady Isabella Twysden, this essay examines the relationship between printed almanac and manuscript annotations, and the connection between annotated almanacs and those categories which organise recent critical discussions of life-writing: identity, subjectivity, autobiography, diary, self. Materials added to almanacs were often later transferred to other texts: diarists often generated a life through a process of shunting material from text to text, starting with an almanac, expanding records with each movement. The production of diaries was less about directly transcribing lived experience, and more the result of revising prior texts. Many features of diaries can be explained through reference back to the almanac as a first or early site where notes on a life began. This founding compositional moment shaped later diaries: the expectations the almanac created, the subjects and vocabularies it induced, informed later written lives.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Arts > English, Theatre and Creative Writing
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2013 10:02
    Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:29
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/6290

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