The Edwardian Picture Postcard as a Communications Revolution : A Literacy Studies Perspective book cover
1st Edition

The Edwardian Picture Postcard as a Communications Revolution
A Literacy Studies Perspective

  • Available for pre-order on June 22, 2023. Item will ship after July 13, 2023
ISBN 9781032198873
July 13, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

This monograph offers a novel investigation of the Edwardian picture postcard as an innovative form of multimodal communication, revealing much about the creativity, concerns, and lives of those who used postcards as an almost instantaneous form of communication.

In the early twentieth century, the picture postcard was a revolutionary way of combining short messages with an image, making use of technologies in a way impossible in the decades since, until the advent of the digital revolution. This book offers original insights into the historical and social context in which the Edwardian picture postcard emerged and became a craze. It also expands the field of Literacy Studies by illustrating combined use of posthuman, multimodal, historic, and linguistic methodologies to conduct in-depth analysis of the content, communicative, sociolinguistic, and relational functions of the postcard. Particular attention is paid to how study of the picture postcard can reveal details of the lives and literacy practices of often overlooked sectors of the population, such as working-class women. The Edwardian era in the United Kingdom was one of extreme inequalities and rapid social change, and picture postcards embodied the dynamism of the times.  

Grounded in analysis of a unique, open access, digitized collection of 3,000 picture postcards, this monograph will be of interest to researchers and postgraduate students in the fields of Literacy Studies, sociolinguistics, history of communications and UK social history.

Table of Contents

1. The Edwardian postcard as a revolutionary communications technology  2. The early postcard  3. Researching the Edwardian postcard  4. Materiality and multimodality  5. What were the Edwardians writing about?  6. The lives of three young women through postcards: Annie Parrish, Janet Carmichael and Ruby Ingrey  7. Conclusions


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Julia Gillen is Professor of Literacy Studies at Lancaster University, UK.