A Scholarly Edition of a Seventeenth-Century Anonymous Commonplace Book in the British Library: How (BOK)
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A remarkable work that brings to life the reader-reception practices of early modern England, this work provides the original voices of both the author of the published work and of the commonplace author while remaining pure to the idiomatic nuances of the time. A rare glimpse into the history of a book through the eyes of the reader's notes. This is a scholarly edition of a manuscript commonplace book found in the Harleian collection of the British Library. It consists of thirty-three folio pages of notes broken down into sixty-one numbered paragraphs in the same hand describing information retrieved from a number of different books. This annotated edition shows what and how this person read. Based on clues within the text the commonplace book was probably written around 1670. The identity of the author remains a mystery although tantalising clues appear within the text it is tentatively suggested that the author is George Bohun. The reader does not make direct reference to any of his sources but the similarity of the manuscript text to the printed texts makes their association very clear. An example of a book used by the commonplacer to make these notes is Samuel Purchas' 1625 multi-volume work Purchas His Pilgrimage.