Early Modern Women’s Letter Writing, 1450–1700 by J. Daybell

By J. Daybell

This landmark e-book of essays examines the improvement of women's letter writing from the past due 15th to the early eighteen century. it's the first ebook to deal comprehensively with women's letter writing in the course of the overdue Medieval and Early sleek interval and indicates that this used to be a bigger and extra socially varied sector of woman task than has in general been assumed. The essays, contributed by means of the various best researchers energetic within the box, illustrate women's engagement in quite a few actions, either literary and political, social and non secular.

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Although her letter provides no details, the reason for her requested visit can be inferred from other evidence: her marriage was in dif®culties. Similarly, Laurence d'Allerthorpe, a cleric of St Paul's cathedral in London, wanted a favourable answer from Joan de Bohun, Countess of Hereford, who was the most powerful magnate in Essex in the early ®fteenth century: Most noble, honoured and gracious lady, I commend myself to your noble highness with my whole heart as entirely and specially as I know or can, at the same time most cordially desiring to hear good news of you and of your noble estate.

Rickert, `A Leaf', pp. 253±4. Payne and Barron, pp. 148±52. Anglo-Norman Letters, pp. 383±4, 416±17. , pp. 110±12. Constance, Lady Despenser was the bishop's niece by marriage. She was the granddaughter of Edward III, and the daughter of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York. Shortly after her husband's death, she was in fact granted some of her husband's estates to the value of 1000 marks (£666 13s. ) a year, her husband's goods and chattels to the value of £200, together with items of plate; Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1399±1401 (HMSO, 1903), pp.

It is important to be aware of our expectations from letter-writing before we can appreciate its signi®cance to English noblewomen in the early ®fteenth century. To what extent and on what occasions did these women engage in letter-writing? What were its conventions and content? What reliance was placed upon it? By about 1400, most women of the gentry and lesser and higher nobility would have been able to read, and would have needed this skill for business as well as private, notably devotional, purposes.

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