The death of the letter? Epistolary intent, letterness and the many ends of letter-writing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Is the letter now ‘dead’, in terminal decline because of the impact of new
digital technologies? Such arguments raise interesting and important
points. However, they fail to distinguish between prevailing conventions
about letter-writing in particular time-periods, and the underpinning
fundamentals of ‘epistolary intent’ and ‘letterness’, and so they overstate
the newness of the features discussed. Examples of departures from ‘the
letter’ but which display clear epistolary intent and inventive letterness are
discussed in support, including the letters of Olive Schreiner, St Paul’s
letters, Roman legionary letters, World War 2 love letters, letters between
mathematicians, and student emails
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-255
Number of pages16
JournalCultural Sociology
Volume9
Issue number2
Early online date10 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Keywords

  • digital communications
  • email
  • epistolary intent
  • epistolary theory
  • letters
  • letterness

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