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Kentish Book Culture

Writers, Archives, Libraries and Sociability 1400-1660

Edited By Claire Bartram

This volume explores the writing practices and book collections of a range of individuals in early modern Kent including monks, a mariner and an apothecary as well as members of the gentry and clergy and urban administrators. In a county with ready access to metropolitan, courtly and continental influences, a vibrant provincial book culture flourished, in which literacy was prized and book ownership widespread. Reinforcing the important social role played by the literate and revealing something of their creative potential, the essays gathered here also uncover an appetite for debate, reflected in the books owned, lent, written and published by the Kentish in the period covered. Underpinning all of this is an enduring culture of sociability, centred around the book as an object to be shared.

Interdisciplinary in approach, this collection brings together specialists in the history of the book, literary scholars, social historians and librarians to explore the nature of authorship and the dynamics of the market for print and manuscript books outside London. It demonstrates the rich potential of regional archival study to extend our understanding of medieval and early modern literature.

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Notes on Contributors


jane andrewes is an independent historian and former doctoral student at the University of Kent. Her publications include ‘The Population of Sandwich from the Accession of Elizabeth I to the Civil War’ Archaeologia Cantiana, 122 (2002), and ‘Industries in Kent, c.1500–1640’ in M. Zell (ed.), Early Modern Kent 1540–1640 (Woodbridge, 2000).

claire bartram is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her research endeavours to be interdisciplinary and early publications situated the print and manuscript writings of the gentry author within a broader ethos of gentility frequently drawing on aspects of material culture and the visual arts. Her recent and forthcoming publications focus more broadly on book culture in the provinces. She is currently writing a monograph on Elizabethan Provincial Authorship.

meriel connor is an independent researcher of monastic history, particularly of the fifteenth century. Key publications include John Stone’s Chronicle. Christ Church Priory Canterbury, 1417–1472 (Kalamazoo, MI, 2010); ‘The Priory of Christ Church Canterbury and its connections with London in the Late Middle Ages’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 135 (2014) and entries on monks of Christ Church Priory in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2012.

gillian draper teaches landscape history at the University of Kent and local history at Canterbury Christ Church University. She recently contributed two chapters on towns and settlement to S. Sweetinbugh (ed.), Early Medieval Kent, 800–1220 (Woodbridge, 2016). She is also the Events and Development Officer for the British Association...

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