Conventional Correspondence: Epistolary Culture of the Dutch by Willemijn Ruberg, Maria Sherwood-Smith (translator)

By Willemijn Ruberg, Maria Sherwood-Smith (translator)

Egodocuments are loved a result of view they supposedly supply into the innermost emotions of people in earlier and current. fresh learn, in spite of the fact that, has proven the complexity of genres like autobiographies, diaries and letters. development on serious and historic study into autobiographical writing, this publication describes epistolary practices of the Dutch elite within the interval 1770-1850. Analysing how cultural beliefs of sincerity, individuality and naturalness encouraged the fashion and contents of letters, the ebook additionally addresses the capabilities of letter writing in kinfolk existence, just like the formation of a young person id and the connection among mom and dad and kids. Correspondence was once an essential potential wherein category and gender identities have been played and the correct feelings have been formed.

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Thus one must be polite in writing to one’s superiors. Moreover a letter to such a recipient should not be too long, and should not dwell on trivial matters; the recipient has no time to read extensive missives. On the one hand, then, the influence of classical rhetoric can still be seen in letter-writing manuals in the period from 1770 to 1850; on the other hand, the rhetorical terms were increasingly being simplified, and were often infused with a new meaning. In the Netherlands, the importance of rhetoric for both teaching and scholarship diminished sharply from about 1840.

80 Where children were involved, learning to write letters often went hand in hand with learning other skills. 81 In this way they not only learned to write, but also to understand and digest literature thoroughly. The letter-writing manuals also provided adults with advice about the best method for learning to compose letters. The correspondent should consider well in advance what he actually wanted to write, so that he would ultimately compose a structured letter: One should therefore, in an orderly manner, write down the main points that will be addressed in a letter, then think carefully about each point, and again, in the same way, write out each idea in itself.

Although the association of women with letters was predominantly positive, more negative connections were also made. 64 Women were seen as more likely to add postscripts to their letters, which was a further sign of sloppiness. 65 The physician C. Pruijs van der Hoeven summarizes the ideas about the sexes and letter-writing neatly in his Levens-Studiën [My Life: A Study]: Women are better than men at writing letters. Our letters often have something stiff and uncomfortable about them, and lack that easy grace that one would gladly exchange for a few errors of spelling or language.

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