'Literary legacies : children's reading and writing in the Montagu Archive'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


At her death in 1618, Elizabeth Harington Montagu bequeathed “a Book of goulde” to her ten-year-old granddaughter and namesake, Bess. Lady Montagu’s gift—a book of devotions mounted in a gold cover and worn on a chain from her girdle—carried with it literary, religious, dynastic, and personal legacies. This book is one of many that passed from Elizabeth Montagu’s hands to those of her descendants, each volume inflected with the same blend of discourses exemplified by her book of gold. Elizabeth Harington was the daughter of James Harington of Exton and Lucy Sidney, and the Montagus were actively engaged in the exchange of manuscripts with these literary families. This chapter explores the reading and manuscript writing of three generations of Montagu children who were molded by the Puritan pedagogy of their parents. Studying manuscripts and material legacies created for and by these children—including the Hill, Bright, and Arundel miscellanies—I explore the use to which texts and artifacts were put to induct children into a common devotional and dynastic culture. Collectively, the Montagus exploit material legacies, including manuscripts, to convey ancestral beliefs and values to posterity. This chapter focuses on the literate practices of Montagu women—Elizabeth Harington Montagu, her daughter-in-law Ann Montagu, and her grand-nieces, Ellina and Frances Harington—to argue that the pedagogical potential of material forms, including the material practices of reading and writing, illuminate distinctly gendered approaches to literary cultures and childhoods.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiterary Cultures and Medieval and Early Modern Childhoods
EditorsNaomi Miller, Diane Purkiss
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-14211-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-14210-0
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019


  • English literary history
  • manuscript cutlure
  • children's literacy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of ''Literary legacies : children's reading and writing in the Montagu Archive''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this