[lit-ideas] Re: Help, please

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 14:12:11 -0800

One of my students is putting together a piece of research on the history of classified ads. I wonder if any of you can do better than I did with two queries:

Student: You had asked me to elaborate on the origins of the handwritten notices ("siquis") that were nailed to walls in public spaces in England in the 1400s. You asked me by whom were they written, what language they were in, and whom they were addressing. I am having some trouble finding that information--at least in my initial search, though I agree that it's important. Do you have any clues?

Me: I'm not finding much. The OED confirms that they were written in Latin. Alberto Manguel, "A History of Reading" doesn't mention them. I can't find anything useful at this website either http:// www.historyliteracy.org/index.html

Student: I said that the Mercurius Publicus was used by King Charles II to find his missing pets. You thought I should include a footnote about that. I've discovered that there is a spaniel associated with him, but not much more. This seems like one of those things that I don't want to go crazy digging into because time is limited, but if you think it's necessary I can pursue it.

Me: It just seems like an odd thing for a king to try to do. Was there not a footnote you could check?

Student: I also found a supposed copy of an advertisement that King Charles II posted:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html? res=9A0CE7DF123AE033A25754C1A9649C94689FD7CF

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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