The Material Letter in Early Modern England: Manuscript Letters and the Culture and Practices of Letter-Writing, 1512-1635
Concentrating on the years 1512-1635, this book represents the first major socio-cultural study of manuscript letters and letter-writing practices in early modern England. It examines a crucial period in the development of the English vernacular letter before Charles I's postal reforms in 1635, one that witnessed a significant extension of letter-writing skills throughout society. Early modern letters can only be fully understood by paying attention to the 'materiality' of the texts: in others words, to the physical characteristics of manuscripts as well as to the social contexts and material conditions in which they were produced, disseminated and read. This study aims to enhance our understanding of the process of early modern letter-writing in all its nuanced complexity, as it is traced from the preparation of epistolary materials and the textual production of letters, through their subsequent delivery and circulation, to the various ways in which letters were read and latterly preserved.
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2 Materials and Tools of LetterWriting
3 Epistolary Writing Technologies
4 Interpreting Materiality and Social Signs
5 Postal Conditions
6 Secret Letters
7 Copying LetterBooks and the Scribal Circulation of Letters
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alongside alphabet Anne Archives autograph Bacon Beal bearers Bodl Brayshay British Library Caligula Cambridge Camden Society carriers cipher circulation collections Commonplace Book copies of letters correspondence Culture dated Daybell Deputy Lieutenant dispatch earl of Essex Early Modern England early modern letters early modern period Edward Elizabeth Elizabethan England English Epistles epistolary folded Folger Folger Shakespeare Library foot-posts Francis Francis Bacon Gawdy hand handwriting Henry household individual James John Lady letter-book letter-writing manuals Lisle Letters London Lord manuscript Mary material miscellanies missives networks Oxford packet paper passim penned Peter Beal Philip Sidney political practices printed Privy Council Queen quills recipient Record Office Record Society Renaissance rhetorical Richard Robert Cecil royal post scribe script seals secret secretary sent servants seventeenth century Shakespeare Sir Thomas sixteenth social standing posts texts textual tion Walsingham watermarks William Women Letter-Writers written