The Material Letter in Early Modern England: Manuscript Letters and the Culture and Practices of Letter-Writing, 1512-1635

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Palgrave Macmillan, Apr 24, 2012 - Fiction - 357 pages
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"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."_Contracub.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Materials and Tools of LetterWriting
30
3 Epistolary Writing Technologies
53
4 Interpreting Materiality and Social Signs
85
5 Postal Conditions
109
6 Secret Letters
148
7 Copying LetterBooks and the Scribal Circulation of Letters
175
8 The Afterlives of Letters
217
9 Conclusion
229
Notes
234
Select Bibliography
291
Index
335
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About the author (2012)

JAMES DAYBELL is professor of Early Modern British History at Plymouth University, UK, and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is author of Women Letter-Writers in Tudor England (2006); editor of Early Modern Women's Letter-Writing, 1450-170(2001), Women and Politics in Early Modern England, 1450-1700 (2004), and (with Peter Hinds) Material Readings of Early Modern Culture, 1580-1730 (2010).