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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: 25 September 2021

Delivery, Reception, and Reading

Delivery, Reception, and Reading

(p.127) 5 Delivery, Reception, and Reading
Women Letter-Writers in Tudor England

James Daybell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter concentrates on the carrying and reading of letters. It explores the mechanics of how letters were delivered by bearers, how women actually read letters, and how their letters were read. Focusing on female reading literacy, it examines the extent to which women could read different sorts of handwriting and how this affected their ability to read letters. This chapter also looks at the intended audience of letters, that is, who read them. During a period in which the categories of ‘public’ and ‘private’ are often difficult to separate, it is argued that the social practices relating to reading correspondence allow one to delineate the kinds of subject matters that were suitable for wider dissemination, and those intended for private consumption. The chapter also examines how letters were read — whether they were read silently or out aloud, whether they were read in full, or merely skimmed for essential details.

Keywords:   letter bearers, delivery of letters, reading, handwriting, privacy, public, private

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