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Re: VMs: Shorthand vs cipher...
At 08:27 18/11/2003 -0800, Richard Brzustowicz wrote:
On Tue, 18 Nov 2003, Nick Pelling wrote:
> All the same, remember that shorthand had an *extraordinarily* bad press
> circa 1350-1500. Secret writing (of all kinds) was thought to be diabolic -
> that is, the Thought Police of the day believed that if you were hiding
> some thoughts in text, they was probably blasphemous... so, on the balance
> of probability, better to burn you at the stake... just to be sure. :-o
I've never heard of this; I was rather under the impression that
short-hand was in raher wide use (for example, in legal contexts).
Could you provide me with references re the history of the hostility
toward shorthand between the 14th and 16th centuries?
A very valid request - though it'll take a while (as I don't have the
references to hand, and will need to get back to the BL). Essentially
you're correct for the 16th Century but not for the 14th Century - and as
for the 15th Century, it depends on who (and where) you were. AFAICR, up to
about 1450 shorthand was still thought of as diabolical (and hence remained
clandestine) - but there are precious few references to it 1450-1550 (when
it was presumably changing status).
IIRC, the strongest evidence for shorthand pre-Bright is in the context of
religious shorthand (which is what GC has often cited), but that would seem
somewhat hard to reconcile with a (say) pre-1525 date (IMO).
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
PS: Patricia Brewerton recently had an interesting article published (in
"The Sixteenth Century Journal", Vol XXXIII, No 4, Winter 2002, of which
she very kindly sent me an off-print) on the political and religious
dimensions of Bright's Characterie, his political patronage, and his
career. (I'll review it on-list another day... )
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