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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
"Bartleby, the Scrivener"

A scrivener (or scribe) was traditionally a person who could read and write. This usually indicated secretarial and administrative duties such as dictation and keeping business, judicial, and history records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities. Scriveners later developed into public servants, accountants, lawyers and petition writers, etc.

Scriveners remain a common sight in countries where literacy rates remain low; they read letters for illiterate customers, as well as write letters or fill out forms for a fee. Many now use portable typewriters to prepare letters for their clients.

The word comes from Middle English scriveiner, an alteration of obsolete scrivein, from Anglo-French escrivein, ultimately from Vulgate Latin *scriban-, scriba, alteration of Latin scriba (as scribe).


"Scrivener (enters with a paper in hand): Here is the indictment of the good Lord Hastings, Which in a set hand fairly in engrossed That is may be today read o'ver in Paul's. And mark how well the sequel hangs together: Eleven hours I have spent to write it over..."

-Shakespeare's Richard III 3.6


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Scrivener" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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