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Women Letter-Writers in Tudor England$
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James Daybell

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199259915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199259915.001.0001

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(p.265) 10 Conclusion
Women Letter-Writers in Tudor England

James Daybell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws together the strands of the book, arguing that letters are unrivalled as immediate records of Tudor women's lives and experiences, and represent by far the largest corpus of 16th-century women's writing that is both privy and powerful. Letters shed light on female education and literacy; family, gender, and other social relations; and on women's political roles. This chapter also defines women's letters, and in so doing resists an oversimplified distinction between women's and men's letters based on content. It argues instead that despite many shared concerns, several factors distinguish women's letters from those of men, including survival, spelling, social range of correspondents, and rhetorical strategy. Moreover, the conclusion suggests that the study, taken as a whole, locates more fully female power and influence within the family, locality, and on a wider political stage, and indicates that 16th-century patriarchy was more flexible than scholars have sometimes suggested.

Keywords:   letters as source, women's lives, women's experiences, female education, female literacy, family, gender, social relations, men's and women's letters, patriarchy

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