The idea for the interactive program that has been developed at the University of Leeds for teaching secretary hand of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries sprang into being in an early-morning moment, when a number of different thoughts crossed and coalesced. Its immediate context was the fact that the School of English was about to offer for the first time an MA in Renaissance English Literature, and we were considering what research skills it would be appropriate to include in the compulsory core module. This module was also to be made available to students beginning Ph.D. study in the area, and for both categories of student instruction in the reading of manuscripts was an obvious contender. Apart from the general principle that every serious student of the period should be able to handle some of the most important primary material, which survives only in handwritten form, the acquisition of basic palaeographical skills would extend the potential range of students’ research, and, more immediately, would encourage them to make full use of the resources that the Brotherton Library could offer. The problem was how to approach the subject in the context of a short ten-week course, where many other topics must also be included. The learning of the distinctive and difficult forms of sixteenth and seventeenthcentury.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century Interactive Program Virtual Learning Environment Letter Form Manuscript Image
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