Games at Court: Space in Early Tudor Manuscripts (Joel Grossman)
← 106 | 107 →JOEL GROSSMAN
Games at Court: Space in Early Tudor Manuscripts
Poetry at the court of Henry VIII is only accessible to most readers through modern editions and anthologies which have been heavily edited. Indeed, with the exception of a few anthology pieces, the vast majority of Henrician poetry is to be found in the single author editions of the major poets of the period, Wyatt and (to a lesser extent) Surrey. Not only, then, are the poems removed from their original material contexts – the literal spaces in which they were known to contemporaries – but what were highly fluid and social texts are now presented as the products of a single author-figure. The reality of the poems in their original forms, however, offers a very different poetic experience. This article will focus on the Devonshire Manuscript (D) created primarily in the middle years of Henry VIII’s reign (1509–1547) by members of the English court. This album problematises many norms associated with modern print editions, emphasising the importance of understanding poems according to their material space as well as any textual contents.1 It is the product of many hands (at least eleven) many of which interact with each other across the page. In this manuscript and its various types of play, space takes on two related meanings. The first is the literal space on the page which offered not only a site of reading through re-writing – in the form of marginal annotations and scribal alteration...
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