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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: April ::
Shakespeare and Letters

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0175  Friday, 16 April 2010

From:        Jennifer Ludgate < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:        April 15, 2010 6:26:03 AM EDT
Subject:     Shakespeare and Letters

Dear SHAKSPEAReans,

I am currently researching the use of letter's in Shakespeare's plays. From a literary perspective this is fairly (?) individual; however, I am also interested as to whether or not the materiality and use of letters as documents reflects on the Early Modern reader's and writer's practices. Does any one know of any where good to look to find out how letters were used/understood/what they meant to an Elizabethan audience? Obviously, there are differences between letters in a play and letters used in every day life but any suggestions of further reading or research which has been done regarding Early Modern and Renaissance letters would be gratefully received! I have read Alan Stewart's Shakespeare's Letters, which has proved very helpful, but I wonder if there are any more studies I have been unable to locate as yet.

Does anyone know how to find out about how letters were sent? How much this cost? What
type of people sent letters and on what occasions? How were the letters addressed? Would
receiving a letter have meant something radically different than it would in a later period?

Similarly, does any one have any particular views about how or why Shakespeare used so many letters in his plays? In particular in his comedies?

Many thanks for any advice or guidance.

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