A London Provisioner's Chronicle, 1550-1563
December 11, 2006 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Henry's Machyn's sixteenth-century Chronicle was nearly destroyed in an eighteenth-century fire, but editors Richard W. Bailey, Marilyn Miller, and Colette Moore have just published a new online scholarly edition, comprising both a reconstructed text (thanks to the very posthumous assistance of John Strype) and images of all the pages. There are several other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century diaries and chronicles online, including Dana F. Sutton's edition of William Camden's Diary (in both Latin and English), J. G. Nichols' Victorian edition of the Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London, and the Earls Colne project's transcription of the diary of clergyman Ralph Josselin. (Machyn link via the very handy Textual Studies, 1500-1800.)
posted by thomas j wise (4 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Great post. Having just spent the evening wading through royalist pamphlets on Early English Books Online, this post is like a busman's holiday to me... but a real treasure trove nonetheless. And I hadn't come across the Textual Studies blog - a good resource.

What I love about Josselin's diary in particular is the juxtaposition of the spiritual with the entirely mundane - eg this versus this. I just wish they would put other contemporary diaries and memoirs online for free. There is a bit of John Evelyn's online here, including the fantastic piece about the whale (Londoners haven't changed much), and you can wade through the parliamentary diaries of Simonds D'Ewes here, but where's Edmund Ludlow, or Bulstrode Whitelocke? Anyway enough whinging, I'm off to go and dig through Machyn.
posted by greycap at 3:05 PM on December 11, 2006

Wow, wish I had more time to look through this. Thanks.
posted by bardic at 4:19 PM on December 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Your main link seems to be dead; I guess they got more interest than they'd expected. Still, there's more than enough here to keep me entertained for a very long time. Thanks!
posted by booksandlibretti at 4:39 PM on December 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

Spectacle indeed! I've just invested an hour or so scurrying around these links. The provenance of the chronicle alone makes for an interesting read - I don't know why, but it seems odd reading about attempts at manuscript preservation 300 years ago. But the overall project is just 'gorgeous' as Monsieur Henry de Machyn would no doubt conclude.

It seems like the antithesis of something so personal as Boswell's 'Life'. But the most interesting part to me of the excellent introduction is their showing how Machyn walked a tightrope of keeping himself safe from extremes of viewpoints on matters of religion and state - that his observations of the ordinary and mundane, recorded dispassionately though they were betwixt the great and spectactular events of the day, nevertheless draws a reader towards a kind of empathy for the parade of lesser characters and situations to which he was exposed. I like that notion.

Thank you very much.
posted by peacay at 2:12 AM on December 12, 2006

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