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Compelling Reading: The Circulation of Quaker Texts, 1650-1700

Palmieri, Brooke Sylvia; (2018) Compelling Reading: The Circulation of Quaker Texts, 1650-1700. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This is a work about the publications and archival habits of a radical minority. The Quakers organised themselves around reading, writing, archiving, and publication— activities in which every member was expected to participate. The paradox of these activities is that while they focused upon individual spiritual development, they were dependent upon and tested by intensely collaborative authorship and communal reading. Reading amongst Friends was an element of their spiritual identity, and also a direct inheritance of changes in information production and circulation triggered during the Civil Wars of the 1640s. Over time, Quaker reading practices changed along with the publications they produced and circulated, especially at the onset of state-sanctioned persecution during the Restoration. Publications, which initially featured Quaker leaders as authors, extended to include the testimonies of the broader membership experiencing persecution. Alternate readings of Quaker texts fuelled the doctrinal disputes between members. So too did the makeup of membership change, widening audiences, attracting scholars on the one hand, and non-English speakers on the other. Within current scholarship on the history of reading, Quakers show how individual readings developed in a communal environment. Within the study of book history, Quakers show how the uses of print were integrated with the uses of manuscript, and they offer insight into the role oral discussion plays in “reading,” which in turn, has shaped the outcome of what has survived. Finally, within religious history, the purpose of this thesis is to detail what it meant for men and women at the end of the 17th century to document their experience of revolutionary religious fervour of the Civil War period in its aftermath — and how that fervour structured the production and circulation of texts for centuries to come.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Compelling Reading: The Circulation of Quaker Texts, 1650-1700
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055389
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