Extraordinarily ordinary
Nehemiah Wallington’s experimental method
in Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell
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This chapter argues that to take the full measure of this extraordinarily ordinary Englishman, it is needed to take fuller account of Nehemiah Wallington as a non-elite reader and writer. For a closer study of Wallington's working methods and organizational strategies for his writing, an evidentiary mix of the surviving writing books and Wallington's reports of the entire corpus in one of his later books are used. Wallington's observations on his devotional life do not appear to be part of a continuum of writing, one orientated to a more polished, final product. Some of Wallington's contemporary note-takers pasted passages from printed materials into their notebooks. From the beginning and throughout, Wallington's goal was to write and keep writing until the lessons of faith were fully inscribed in his heart. It is suspected that Wallington understood fairly early on that his writing was forging pathways into memory exercises.


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