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Enough in my heart to know all my thoughts': The letter writing of unmarried women 1575-1802. / ,

Abstract

The rise in popularity of women's history and the history of letter writing has ensured much debate on these subjects in recent years. However, little research has been conducted on the letter writing of unmarried women and networks shown in their letter writing. From courtship to widowhood, th...

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Published: 2012
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa42752
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Abstract: The rise in popularity of women's history and the history of letter writing has ensured much debate on these subjects in recent years. However, little research has been conducted on the letter writing of unmarried women and networks shown in their letter writing. From courtship to widowhood, the relationships created and sustained through the medium of letter writing are manifested, and the detail of their lives makes for compelling reading. Through largely case based studies, I have sought to show the types of support systems women had in place, not only from men, but from friends and relatives. Their lives are documented through analysis of both manner and content, examining style, rhetoric and expression. I have sought to include not only examples of women who have already been examined, such as Dorothy Osborne, and Anne Newdigate, but lesser known sources, such as Isabella Strutt and the correspondents of Jane Stringer. This adds a new depth to the work already conducted on the lives of early modem women. Single women were able to create agenda and autonomy through their letter writing, employing a variety of rhetorical devices and personas subject to their stage in the life cycle. Through their letters, they were able to maintain bonds with men and women, cutting across gender and class barrier, broadening their experiences and enriching their lives.
Keywords: British & Irish literature.;Women's studies.
College: College of Arts and Humanities