Epistolary Practices: Letter Writing in America before Telecommunications

William Merrill Decker

Published by The University of North Carolina Press, 1998
ISBN 10: 0807847437 / ISBN 13: 9780807847435
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Synopsis: Letters have long been read as primary sources for biography and
history, but their performative, fictive, and textual dimensions
have only recently attracted serious notice. In this book, William Merrill Decker examines the place of the personal letter in American popular and literary culture from the colonial to the
postmodern period.
After offering an overview of the genre, Decker explores epistolary practices that coincide with American experiences of
space, settlement, separation, and reunion. He discusses letters
written by such well-known and well-educated persons as John
Winthrop, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail and John
Adams, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Samuel Clemens, Henry James, and Alice James, but also letters by persons who, except in their correspondence, were not writers at all: indentured servants, New England factory workers, slaves, soldiers, and Western pioneers. Individual chapters explore the letter writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, and Henry Adams--three of America's most ambitious, accomplished, and theoretically astute letter writers. Finally, Decker considers the ongoing transformation of letter writing in the electronic age.

Book Description: "One measure of a book's worth is the number of interesting questions it provokes. Add to that carefully researched historical information, sensitive and thought-provoking discussions of literary figures, new insights into the ubiquitous letter form, all presented in elegant prose, and Epistolary Practices must be judged a stunning success."-- Prose Studies

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Title: Epistolary Practices: Letter Writing in ...
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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