A Definition of the Manuscript Verse Miscellany. Where the commonplace book is a gathering of materials for the sake of memory and reference, the manuscript verse miscellany is a curated and in some way coherent aestheticized object, embodying and appealing to poetic and visual tastes. It offers a collection of predominantly contemporary, relatively short poems copied primarily in a single hand, and it often includes local or “original” verse from within the compiler’s own circle. Together these features suggest a self-conscious and temporally focused act of literary creation. The following criteria have been used to select manuscripts for inclusion in this database:
The Manuscript Verse Miscellanies 1700-1820 database describes each manuscript in terms of certain common features that embody its compiler’s vision for the book. These features help to define the genre’s conventions, suggest the manuscript’s possible uses, and reveal how the book was valued by its creator and users. Features are categorized as person-related features, organizational features, and decorative features.
Manuscript Verse Miscellanies 1700-1820 is a searchable database describing hundreds of manuscript poetry books. The often-unknown individuals who compiled these verse miscellanies combined verse selected from magazines or printed collections with that written by members of their own social networks and even by themselves. Each of these carefully curated manuscript books has a story to tell.
This section records the Manuscript Roles, Poem Roles, and Coterie involvement of various individuals. Several hundred persons who play such roles are recorded in the database. Coteries, here defined as groups whose sociability is characterized by an appreciation and mutual encouragement of poetic composition and by exchanges of manuscript poetry, are named and described as well.
Contents of the miscellany manuscripts are not recorded in their entirety. However, some poems have been selected for tracking across manuscripts if they meet at least one of three criteria. Poems are identified by their first line and, where known, their author.
In recent years research interest in the eighteenth-century manuscript book and manuscript poetry has been gaining momentum. Manuscript Verse Miscellanies 1700-1820 contributes to the discussion about manuscript culture in the gap between the scribal activity studied by early modern manuscript studies, which tend to terminate at about 1700, and recent scholarship on the nineteenth-century culture of collection that produced the album and scrapbook forms.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Betty A. Schellenberg, FRSC, FRHistS Distinguished University Professor of English Simon Fraser University http://www.sfu.ca/people/schellen/ This project would not have been possible without the dedication, talent, and hard work of the members of the Research Team: Database Lead Editor: Angela Wachowich (Spring 2019 to Present) Miscellany Research Lead:...
To contact the project lead, Betty Schellenberg, see her faculty profile page.