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The Pen and the PeopleEnglish Letter Writers 1660-1800$
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Susan Whyman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532445

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532445.001.0001

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Creating the Letter

Creating the Letter

How to Acquire Epistolary Literacy

(p.19) 1 Creating the Letter
The Pen and the People

Susan E. Whyman

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how people learned to read and write letters by treating the letter as a material object. Readers observe the step-by step process of writing and reading letters. The use of copybooks and handwriting are linked to national identity, and the value of epistolary manuals is questioned. Children's letters of the Evelyn family are compared with those of three merchant families, and their importance is discussed. They suggest that a more informal type of letter written in the merchant's round hand dominated personal correspondence by 1800.

Keywords:   letters, epistolary manuals, children, writing, merchant, handwriting, copybooks, national identity, material object

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