Sermon notes and manuscript communities

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Morrissey, Mary (2017)

Any reader of manuscript catalogues knows how common the unhelpfully vague entry “sermon notes, 17th-century” can be. This essay explores whether we can find in sermon notes the kinds of textual communities that have been found through the reconstruction of other routes of manuscript circulation. It will unpick what those laconic catalogue entries mean, and distinguish the different kinds of sermon notes found in our archival collections (some derived from the original preacher, some from hearers, some from readers of manuscript and printed\ud copies). The physical forms of different sorts of “sermon notes” alerts us to the different types of authors who created these manuscripts, and the different purposes involved in preserving an oration in textual form, purposes which included fostering the creation and maintenance of communal identities among the self-consciously godly or Catholic recusants.
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