This book is an extensive investigation of letters and letter writing across two centuries, focusing on the sociocultural function and meaning of epistolary writing—letters that were circulated, were intended to circulate, or were perceived to circulate within "the culture of epistolarity" in early modern England. The study examines how the letter functioned in a variety of social contexts, yet also assesses what the letter meant as idea to early modern letter writers, investigating letters in both manuscript epistolarity, and print contexts. It begins with an overview of the culture of epistolarity and examines the material components of letter exchange, investigates how emotion was persuasively textualized in the letter, considers the transmission of news and intelligence, and examines the publication of letters as propaganda and as collections of moral-didactic, personal, and state letters. Gary Schneider is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Texas-Pan American.
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