Re: [pepysdiary] The 17th-Century Paper Social Network
Thanks, Terry. Nothing new under the sun. . . .
--- On Thu, 7/26/12, terry foreman <terry.foreman@...> wrote:
From: terry foreman <terry.foreman@...>
Subject: [pepysdiary] The 17th-Century Paper Social Network
To: "pepysdiary-yahoogroup" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thursday, July 26, 2012, 3:19 PM"This month, 323 years ago, an English biographer scribbled notes to another scholar -- or rather, he scribbled and kept on scribbling. By the time he wrote on the fragment you see here, he'd already folded up his letter and stuck it inside. That tangled mass of words up there was written on a "wrapper," a folded piece of paper that was the literal precursor to the envelope. The sender was John Aubrey, the recipient Anthony Wood. If you can read it, the writing is fast, steeped in social connections, limited by space and length. Or..."It's like 17th-century Twitter, said Chris Fletcher, Keeper of Special Collections at Oxford's Bodleian Library, which bought the scrap earlier this year."To scholars and the British public, both Wood and Aubrey are well-known. Both were antiquaries, a kind of Enlightenment-era historian-biographer who preferred working with physical, material things. "We speak from facts not theory," said an antiquary in the 18th century."Their impulse sprang from the passion of the amateur, especially Aubrey's. He gossiped, pursued information with zeal and befriended many. The two men kept up this exchange for the 30 years between 1667 and 1695. This little fragment of an envelope is part of that back-and-forth, and it overwhelms the reader with requests for information.
"This little scrap is part, then, of a paper social network. Aubrey started out hunting for autobiographical information as one of Wood's men in the field. What he sent back to Wood were often second-hand journalistic accounts -- this envelope contains four different chunks of them -- so steeped in gossip and reference to the time that it almost doesn't make sense to explicate them. But we can draw out and examine two.