By Deane Barker

Definition: a person whose employment is to write what another dictates, or to copy what has been written by another

Why I Looked It Up

A very strange passage in Cutting for Stone tells of an infant twin who is confronted with a woman’s breast for the first time:

Though I am in possession of the breast, stroking it, palpating it, I am also [my twin’s] amanuensis.

I suppose he was saying that he was somehow communicating with this twin about this strange thing he had found.


Added on May 28, 2023

In The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, there is this inventory of a wealthy Roman citizen:

…fifty-nine slaves, five notaries, two amanuenses, one scribe, and a book repairer, along with a cook and barber

It was presented in the context of how important written records were to Romans, that wealthy people would have staff dedicated to reproducing them.

Later in the same book:

…a restless quarrelsome man who had in his youth been Petrarch’s secretary and amanuensis…

This is item #24 in a sequence of 696 items.

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