‘Pen’d with double art’

Helen Smith

in 'Grossly Material Things'

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199651580
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741654 | DOI:
‘Pen’d with double art’

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter charts women's presence at the scene of writing, arguing for a flexible understanding of collaboration and co-writing in this period. Opening with an extended reading of John Donne's ‘A valediction: of the booke’, the chapter contains four sections which explore the variety of women's work as copyists, translators, editors and co-writers, and their status as the sources of oral testimony. Through a careful analysis of prefatory rhetoric, alongside a variety of archival and textual sources, Smith argues that these activities, which modern critics frequently describe as secondary, derivative, and mechanical, possess both a material and a creative aspect, which is recognised as having a crucial originary power in contemporary accounts.

Keywords: women's writing; authorship; scribes; translation; editing; collaboration; John Donne

Chapter.  16640 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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