Some Metaphors for Reading

Harold Love

in Scribal Publication in Seventeenth-Century England

Published in print May 1993 | ISBN: 9780198112198
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670695 | DOI:
Some Metaphors for Reading

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter explores how the production and transmission of scribally published texts were perceived by their original readers to differ from printed and oral texts. It considers drawing on the insights of Walter J. Ong and Jacques Derrida — how the oral, the chirographical, and the printed text each presuppose their own distinct modes of knowing. It then examines these theoretically derived predictions against a range of figurative formulations of the acts of reading and inscription actually current during the seventeenth century. Lastly, it considers the role played by the handwritten text in the constitution of ‘fictions of state’ — those figurative constructs that were invoked to legitimize the exercise of political authority.

Keywords: Derrida; Ong; oral texts; printed texts; seventeenth century; political authority; fictions of state

Chapter.  14267 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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