Memory and Material in Early Modern England

Material Memorials

For early modern thinkers preoccupied with the relationship between memory and materiality, burial and mourning rituals were natural areas of interest. Early proto-anthropological works like John Weever’s Ancient Funeral Monuments examined the material conditions of earlier burial practices, while printing presses churned out funeral sermons, turning a memorial ritual into a material text. This section showcases writers who respond to this interest in three different genres: Thomas Elyot’s medicinal advice for avoiding excess grief; Thomas Browne’s reflections on the discovery of Roman burial urns in Norfolk, and Margaret Cavendish’s imagining of her burial among the material instruments of her writing career. 


Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. East / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5153 /