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800 Years of Women's Letters Paperback – 1 Oct 2007
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This comprehensive study of women's letters is organized by subject matter and covers a wide range of topics from politics, work and war, to childhood, love and sexual passion. It reveals the depth, breadth and passion of women's lives through the ages. Here Heloise writes to Abelard of her undying devotion. Vita-Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf correspond about life and writing. Queen Victoria complains to Robert Peel about the neglect of Buckingham Palace. Many more women write letters which reveal the compassion, humour, love and tenacity with which they confront the often difficult circumstances of everyday life.
About the Author
Olga Kenyon was a lecturer and writer, specialising in Women's Literature. She lives in London and is sadly now disabled.
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In this engrossing anthology, the first truly comprehensive study of women's letters, Olga kenyon explores the tradition of female letter-writing from the 12th century to the presetn day.
One of the few 'allowable' forms of written expressioin open to women until the 18th century.
these private letters deal in daily life, their sorrows and joys, small achievments and the great rites of passage of birth, death and marriage.
Includes: Heloise, Margaret Paston, Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Florence Nightingale, Vita Sackville-West, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen and many many more...
A Must for any collection!
Olga Kenyon's intention is to show that women's letters are a valid form of literature, despite still being relatively neglected, compared to poetry and novels, and she achieves this admirably. Taking account of the feminist approach, studying the older letters for their difference from the present also helps toward our understanding both of the past and of gender formation.
The book is divided into eleven main sections; each section includes an insightful introduction by Olga Kenyon. The letters cover such topics as: How women view their roles, Love and Sexual Passion, Work, War and Alleviating suffering and Political skills.
There are for instance letters from Aphra Benn, (the first professional woman writer in England) forced to ask for money to cover her expenses; Mrs Gaskell considers the balance between housekeeping duties and individual development; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu writes of on her first visit to a Turkish Bath in 1717 (she is perhaps the most interesting letter writer in the English language, though no books of hers were in print when this book was published in 1992). Many letters from less well known women are included such as Isabella Bird whose letters home give an informative view of life for new settlers in the American West of 1873.
These letters reveal honesty, accurate analysis, compassion, humility and love; they give us a new type of history. No previous anthology has presented such rich material of equal interest to historians and the general reader alike.
A great book to own or to give to anyone who enjoys being inspired by the reflections of people from other ages .
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