Censored Sentiments: Letters and Censorship in Epistolary Novels and Conduct Material

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University of Delaware Press, 1997 - Fiction - 209 pages
This book offers a new perspective on women as letter writers and on the eighteenth-century increase in, and subsequent decline of, epistolary fiction. In order to better understand the role epistolary fiction played in English, French, Italian, and to a lesser extent, American society, it is necessary to read such fiction in the context of conduct books with their theories of what women should be and their reflections on literature. Such a reading takes into account not only letter writers and their addressees, but also the censors who read, intercepted, suppressed, criticized, corrected, forged, altered, falsified, misdirected, censored, and rewrote female letters in an effort to achieve a perfect specimen of female epistolary writing.
 

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Contents

Female Letters in Conduct Material
21
Letters as a Means of Liberation for Female Correspondents
52
ClarissaWoman Writer and Reader in an Epistolary Web
75
Female Epistolary Strategies in Evelina Lady Susan and Lettere di una novizia The Tactics of Caution Convention and Cliche
103
Deconstructing the Definition of Female Letters as Sentimental Nonliterary and Private
138
Conclusion
175
Notes
178
Bibliography
198
Index
206
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