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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

The Composition of Letters

The Composition of Letters

(p.61) 3 The Composition of Letters
Women Letter-Writers in Tudor England

James Daybell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the different ways in which letters were composed, whether by personal composition, dictation, drafting, or working from notes. In this way, it seeks to assess levels of mediation and epistolary privacy in letter-writing, as well as the roles and potential influence of amanuenses and secretaries. These issues are closely related to the question of how far women's letters can be considered as personal or spontaneous, a question itself bound up with the very nature of letters as a source of female expression, and representative of family and social relationships. The chapter interrogates traditional conceptions of writing, arguing for the acceptance of a relatively broad definition of women's authorship, to include letters that bear influences of third parties. Concomitantly, it participates in a reassessment of the 16th century as a period of women's literary production, maintaining that women were able to establish firm control over letters sent.

Keywords:   authorship, amanuensis, secretary, drafting, dictation, nature of letters, handwriting

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