Women's Letters Across Europe, 1400–1700: Form and Persuasion

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Routledge, Mar 2, 2017 - Literary Criticism - 352 pages
In response to a growing interest, among historians as well as literary critics, in women's use of the epistolary genre, Women's Letters Across Europe, 1400-1700: Form and Persuasion analyzes persuasive techniques in the personal correspondence of late medieval and early modern women. It includes studies of well-known women (Isabella d'Este, Teresa of Avila, Marguerite de Navarre, Catherine de Medicis), of those less-known (Alessandra Macigni Strozzi, Louise de Coligny, Glikl of Hameln, Argula von Grumbach, Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Anna Maria von Schurman, Barbara of Brandenburg ) and of others virtually unknown to history (prosperous women like Elizabeth Stonor and Cornelia Collonello and pauper women seeking poor relief in Tours). Comprehensive in scope, Women's Letters Across Europe, 1400-1700 looks at women from England, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands, and from various levels of society, encompassing the nobility, the gentry, the middle class, and the poor. Each of the essayists considers letters both as historical documents giving insights into women's lives, and as texts in which variations on epistolary forms are used for specific persuasive purposes. The authors of the essays analyze their subjects' capabilities and limitations as letter writers and the techniques they used to influence correspondents, setting these observations in the framework of the women's particular 'stories.' Taken together, the essays and the letter writers discussed therein illustrate in new ways how far from silenced many early modern women were, how they were able to adopt and adapt strategies from the epistolary conventions available to them, and how they could have an impact on their worlds through their letters.

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Elizabeth Stonor
Glikl of Hamelns
Reading Cornelia Collonellos Letters
Isabella dEste and the Properties
Privacy and the Social Practices of Reading
Reform and Persuasion
Luisa de Carvajal
Form and Persuasion in
The French Reception of Anna Maria
Selected General Bibliography

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About the author (2017)

Jane Couchman is Associate Professor of French, Humanities and Women's Studies at Glendon College, York University (Toronto). She has published articles and book chapters on the letters of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Huguenot women: Louise de Coligny, Catherine de Bourbon, Charlotte de Bourbon-Montpensier and Eléonore de Roye. Ann Crabb (History, James Madison University) is the author of The Strozzi of Florence: Widowhood and Family Solidarity in the Renaissance (University of Michigan Press, 2000). Her current research deals with the correspondence of Margherita Datini (1360-1418) and her circle in Prato and Florence, investigating both the form and the content of the letters.

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