John Donne and the Conway Papers: Patronage and Manuscript Circulation in the Early Seventeenth Century

John Donne and the Conway Papers: Patronage and Manuscript Circulation in the Early Seventeenth Century

by Daniel Starza Smith


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How and why did men and women send handwritten poetry, drama, and literary prose to their friends and social superiors in the seventeenth century-and what were the consequences of these communications? Within this culture of manuscript publication, why did John Donne (1572-1631), an author who attempted to limit the circulation of his works, become the most transcribed writer of his age? John Donne and the Conway Papers examines these questions in great detail. Daniel Starza Smith investigates a seventeenth-century archive, the Conway Papers, in order to explain the relationship between Donne and the archive's owners, the Conway family. Drawing on an enormous amount of primary material, he situates Donne's writings within the broader workings of manuscript circulation, from the moment a scribe identified a source text, through the process of transcription and onwards to the social ramifications of this literary circulation.

John Donne and the Conway Papers offers the first full-length analysis of three generations of the Conway family between Elizabeth's succession and the end of the Civil War, explaining what the Conway Papers are and how they were amassed, how the archive came to contain a concentration of manuscript poetry by Donne, and what the significance of this fact is, in terms of seventeenth-century politics, patronage, and culture. Answers to these questions cast new light on the early transmission of Donne's verse and prose. Throughout, John Donne and the Conway Papers emphasizes the importance of Donne's closest friends and earliest readers—such as George Garrard, Rowland Woodward, and Sir Henry Goodere—in the dissemination of his poetry. Goodere in particular emerges as a key agent in the early circulation of Donne's verse, and this book offers the first sustained account of his literary activities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199679133
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/30/2014
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Daniel Starza Smith is British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford. He works on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literary history, with a particular focus on John Donne and Ben Jonson, the circulation of texts in manuscript, and the literary patronage of early modern women. He has published on John Donne Junior, the history of libraries, and early modern letters, and has edited the poetry of Sir Henry Goodere for the John Donne Journal. He previously lectured at University College London and the University of Reading, and with Joshua Eckhardt has co-edited Manuscript Miscellanies in Early Modern England (Ashgate, 2014).

Table of Contents

Part I: The Conway Family and the Conway Papers
1. 'At length I fell in to Imagination': Sir John Conway
2. 'An honest man, who knows more about the sword than the pen': Edward, First Viscount Conway and Killultagh
3. The Knight's Move: Conway and A Game at Chess
4. Fide et Amore: the First Viscount Conway's Legacies
5. 'What is a Gentleman but his pleasure?' Edward, Second Viscount Conway and Killultagh
6. Booklets, Books, Ballads, and Birds: the Second Viscount Conway as Collector
7. The Curious History of the Conway Papers
8. Conceptualizing the Conway Papers
Part II: John Donne, Sir Henry Goodere, and Manuscript Circulation
9. Donne's Verse Letters
10. Sir Henry Goodere, Poet and Scribe
11. Problematum miscellaneorum: the Problems and Biathanatos, 1603-10
12. The Intelligence that Moves: Donne, Goodere, and Conway, 1610-1615
13. Textual Transmission and Court Patronage in the 1620s
14. Conflicts of Interest: Donne, Goodere, Conway, and Seventeenth-Century Patronage
Conclusion: Patronage and Manuscript Circulation
Appendix 1: Conway and Goodere Family Trees
Appendix 2: Literary Manuscripts in the Conway Papers

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