Graffiti and the Writing Arts of Early Modern England

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Reaktion Books, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 224 pages
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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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About the author (2001)

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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