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Becoming a Woman in the Age of Letters

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Máire Cross


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Dena Goodman has produced an interesting historical contextualization of female epistolary practices of the late eighteenth century using a blend of material and cultural references. Her intention is to contribute to our knowledge of women's lives in the eighteenth century while recognising that ‘the closer one looks at particular women and their letters the more individual they become and the less typical they seem’ (p. 7). She has presented her reading of individuals’ letters with educational theories about women's education that shaped how girls were taught how to write letters and alongside the rapid expansion of consumption of letter-writing products that seemingly adorned many rooms in the home depending on the wealth of the customers who flocked to buy beautifully carved writing desks with their secret compartments for letters, not always a guarantee for their preservation as historical artefacts.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cross MF

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: French History

Year: 2010

Volume: 24

Issue: 2

Pages: 292-293

Print publication date: 29/03/2010

ISSN (print): 0269-1191

ISSN (electronic): 1477-4542


DOI: 10.1093/fh/crq019