Literacy and the domestic arts

Wendy Wall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In this essay, Wendy Wall explores various forms of "kitchen literacy" as evidenced in early modern printed English domestic guides and handwritten recipe collections. Manuals by Thomas Tusser, John Partridge, Gervase Markham, and Hannah Woolley formatted different ideological formations of domesticity precisely through the reading protocols they advanced. In numerous extant manuscript collections by Elizabeth Fowler, Anne Percy, and Lettice Pudsey, among others, handwriting forms a continuum with the handiwork of the home. Recipe books, she argues, underscore the usefulness of working with an expansive and material notion of "reading" and "writing" - as embodied and institutionally informed practices that took shape even as one cooked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-412
Number of pages30
JournalHuntington Library Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Alphabetic literacy
  • Domestic advice writing
  • Early modern manuscript recipe books
  • Materiality of reading
  • Physical aspects of book use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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