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Amanda Vickery: Letter-Writing, 4 November 2010

The Pen and the People: English Letter-Writers 1660-1800 
by Susan Whyman.
Oxford, 400 pp., £30, October 2009, 978 0 19 953244 5
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Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters 
by Dena Goodman.
Cornell, 408 pp., £24.50, June 2009, 978 0 8014 7545 0
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... which was simultaneously ‘inscribed into the meaning and practice of modern womanhood’. Susan Whyman’s The Pen and the People is a celebration of democratisation, showing how important letter-writing became to middling and even some plebeian English men and women. The key gauge used to measure literacy rates across large social groups is the ...

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