Bess of Hardwick’s Letters: Language, Materiality, and Early Modern Epistolary Culture (Hardback) book cover

Bess of Hardwick’s Letters

Language, Materiality, and Early Modern Epistolary Culture

By Alison Wiggins

© 2017 – Routledge

224 pages | 22 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781409461296
pub: 2016-11-25
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pub: 2016-11-10
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About the Book

Bess of Hardwick's Letters is the first book-length study of the c. 250 letters to and from the remarkable Elizabethan dynast, matriarch and builder of houses Bess of Hardwick (c. 1527–1608). By surveying the complete correspondence, author Alison Wiggins uncovers the wide range of uses to which Bess put letters: they were vital to her engagement in the overlapping realms of politics, patronage, business, legal negotiation, news-gathering and domestic life. Much more than a case study of Bess's letters, the discussions of language, handwriting and materiality found here have fundamental implications for the way we approach and read Renaissance letters. Wiggins offers readings which show how Renaissance letters communicated meaning through the interweaving linguistic, palaeographic and material forms, according to socio-historical context and function. The study goes beyond the letters themselves and incorporates a range of historical sources to situate circumstances of production and reception, which include Account Books, inventories, needlework and textile art and architecture. The study is therefore essential reading for scholars in historical linguistics, historical pragmatics, palaeography and manuscript studies, material culture, English literature and social history.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents to come

About the Author

Alison Wiggins is a senior lecturer in English Language at the University of Glasgow, UK.

About the Series

Material Readings in Early Modern Culture

Material Readings in Early Modern Culture

This series provides a forum for studies that consider the material forms of texts as part of an investigation into early modern English culture. The editors invite proposals of a multi- or interdisciplinary nature, and particularly welcome proposals that combine archival research with an attention to the theoretical models that might illuminate the reading, writing, and making of texts, as well as projects that take innovative approaches to the study of material texts, both in terms the kinds of primary materials under investigation, and in terms of methodologies. What are the questions that have yet to be asked about writing in its various possible embodied forms? Are there varieties of materiality that are critically neglected? How does form mediate and negotiate content? In what ways do the physical features of texts inform how they are read, interpreted and situated? Consideration will be given to both monographs and collections of essays. The range of topics covered in this series includes, but is not limited to:

-History of the book, publishing, the book trade, printing, typography (layout, type, typeface, blank/white space, paratextual apparatus)

-Technologies of the written word: ink, paper, watermarks, pens, presses

-Surprising or neglected material forms of writing

-Print culture

-Bookbinding

-Manuscript studies

-Social space, context, location of writing

-Social signs, cues, codes imbued within the material forms of texts

-Ownership and the social practices of reading: marginalia, libraries, environments of reading and reception

-Codicology, palaeography and critical bibliography

-Production, transmission, distribution and circulation

-Archiving and the archaeology of knowledge

-Orality and oral culture

-The material text as object or thing

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
LIT004120
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LIT004290
LITERARY CRITICISM / Women Authors
LIT019000
LITERARY CRITICISM / Renaissance
LIT025010
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Historical Events
LIT025030
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Politics
LIT025050
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Women