Joanne Myers

Fulbright-Durham University Scholar Award (All Disciplines)

Joanne Myers has long been fascinated by archival materials, but that interest remained in the background of her scholarly work until, in 2017, a chance encounter with a manuscript prayer book from the 1720s reignited her interest. The anonymous prayer book spurred a series of questions: Who wrote it? Why would someone create a handwritten book over two centuries after the arrival of the printing press? Was the work tedious? How did the nun who wrote this book understand the meaning of her labour? That serendipitous encounter spurred her current interest in English Catholic devotional culture in the 1600s and 1700s, with a focus on scribal practice in English continental convents. At Durham, Myers will be spending most of her time in Palace Green Library, surveying the manuscript and print libraries of the Poor Clares of Rouen, which include many books penned by the same nun who created that prayer book Myers encountered years ago.