chapter  3
16 Pages

Domestic Papers: Manuscript Culture and Early Modern Women’s Life Writing

WithMargaret J.M. Ezell

This chapter considers what issues might be revealed about the genre of early modern women's life writings when one takes as the primary focus the mode of their textual creation and transmission. Studying life writing as part of a larger classification manuscript materials shifts emphasis to aspects of the text other than the writer's emotions or the events described. In addition to these life writings published from manuscripts posthumously, such as Elizabeth Moore's Evidences for Heaven and Elizabeth Burys Diary both printed to provide a guide to the Christian reader there are further traces of women's manuscript life writing in other types of printed texts. The title of the transcription version underlines not the personal suffering and social shame but the wonderful nature of the events and that Mrs. Agnes Beaumont emerges triumphant. Manuscript sources make it clear that life writing of a spiritual nature was not frowned upon by friends, family, or the culture at large.