Graffiti and the Writing Arts of Early Modern England

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Overview

Tattoos and graffiti immediately bring to mind contemporary urban life and its inhabitants. But in fact, both practices date back much further than is generally thought—even by scholars. Drawing on a previously unavailable archive, Juliet Fleming reveals the unknown and disregarded literary arts of sixteenth century England.

            In Graffiti and the Writing Arts of Early Modern England, Fleming argues that our modern assumptions of what constitutes written expression have limited our access to and understanding of early modern history and writing. Fleming combines detailed historical scholarship with intellectual daring in a work that describes how writing practices have not been limited to the boundaries of the page; instead they have included body surfaces, ceramics, ceilings, walls, and windows.

            Moving beyond what has been preserved in print and manuscript, this book claims the whitewashed wall as the primary textual canvas of the early modern English, explores the tattooing practices of sixteenth-century Europeans, and uncovers the poetics of ceramic cookware. Graffiti and the Writing Arts of Early Modern England will provide a startling new perspective for scholars of early modern literature and cultural history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Tattoos, graffiti, pots, poesy rings, and inscriptions on clothes and on implements were all significant and meaningful forms of writing in early modern England. In this beautifully packaged and engaging book Juliet Fleming argues that these modes of writing . . . were central to consciousness and to the idea of writing. . . . Her book succeeds—as a challenge to our understating of the practices of writing and the notion of literature—because of its originality, its restless interrogation of words well beyond the realms of the canonical, its brilliantly imaginative approach to cultural history, and because of its well-proportioned, elegant, and dense prose."—Albion

"Through stunningly imaginative acts of archaeological and archival retrieval, Juliet Fleming has given us the keenest account we have of what distinguishes early modern writing from our own."—Margreta de Grazia, University of Pennsylvania

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861890894
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 4/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Juliet Fleming is a lecturer in the faculty of English at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
 
1  Graffiti
 
2  Whitewash
 
3  Tattoo
 
4  Pots
 
References
Bibliography
Photographic Acknowledgements
Index

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