Category Archives: 19th-century letters

Pauper letters

Anyone interested in pauper letters will come across Thomas Sokoll’s book Essex Pauper Letters, 1731-1837, published in 2001. An online review of the book came out in HistoricalSociolinguistics/Sociohistorical Linguistics two years later. But the book is also cited as important introductory reading … Continue reading

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The Greatest Love Story Ever Told…

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I am not talking about Romeo and Juliet, Lancelot and Guinevere or Paris and Helena. These two are not as widely known, but their story “is surely one of the most fascinating love-stories in the world” (Kenmare 1957:7). This is … Continue reading

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Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

During the last few weeks of the course Letters as Sociohistorical-Linguistic Documents, I’ve been reminded of the many special linguistic insights which letters are able to provide. We’ve read,* for example, about how letters may provide evidence for reconstructing social … Continue reading

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Penholder’s Everybody’s Letter Writer

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Today I received a surprise package in my mail! Of course, I remembered ordering a copy of Penholder’s Everybody’s Letter Writer: being a Complete Guide to Letter Writing, but the website (abebooks.com) had told me that it would take 10 to … Continue reading

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Penholder’s identity

Upon reading the article The Letter-Writing Manual in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: From Polite to Practical by Lyda Fens-de Zeeuw, a number of interesting research questions came to mind. For me the most challenging and thought provoking question was the … Continue reading

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OED not (yet) helpful on Turkies

Analysing Jane Austen’s spelling in her letters, I found the plural Turkies rather than Turkeys as we spell it today: he hopes all your Turkies & Ducks & Chicken & Guinea Fowls are very well (letter 21) We are just … Continue reading

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Addison’s hand

One of my students was writing a paper on Joseph Addison’s Will, and because she wanted to verify if the Will was actually in his own hand, she googled for “Joseph Addison” and “handwriting”. Joseph Addison lived from 1672 to … Continue reading

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The Browning letters again

Another Browning specialist informed me that, as far as he knew, the Baylor letters project is “free to air”: excellent news. He also recommended the book The Courtship of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett by Daniel Karlin (1985, Oxford: Clarendon Press) . … Continue reading

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On long s

Long <s> is a typical feature of 18th-century English spelling, as James Boswell’s letter, reproduced elsewhere in this blog, shows. But though it disappeared from printed texts around the turn of the 18th to the 19th century, it still appears … Continue reading

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The Browning love letters

On Valentine’s Day, the Guardian announced the online publication of the Browning love letters, letters exchanged between Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, which I also reported on elsewhere in this blog. The article mentions that there are 574 letters, and a first glance … Continue reading

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