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ENGL 392SC: Science, Magic, and Superstition in Early Modern Drama

Finding Primary Sources

Tips for reading early modern print

  • Spelling was not standardized, so expect variant spellings for words! (This is not a problem for searching in EEBO, however, because the database automatically searches spelling variations for you.)
  • Printers still used the long s (looks like an "f" missing all or part of the crossbar: ſ) as well as the s we're accustomed to today. 
  • i and j are used interchangeably
  • u and v are used interchangeably
  • y is sometimes used instead of i
  • two v's are sometimes used to represent a w: vv
  • Overall, Early Modern English isn't that different from the English we speak today. Context (the words and sentences surrounding a word) will usually help you figure out what an unusually spelled word is.
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