Private and Public Voices: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Letters and Letter Writing


Private and Public Voices: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Letters and Letter Writing


Edited by Karin Koehler and Kathryn McDonald-Miranda

Year: 2015

Paperback – ISBN: 978-1-84888-335-2
eBook (pdf) – ISBN : 978-1-84888-461-8

This volume explores the failures, risks, and possibilities of epistolary exchange between individuals, between individuals and their societies, and across cultures.

SKU: 9781848883352.
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The eleven essays in this collection celebrate the letter as a manifestation of individuality and community; they revel in the failed attempts and triumphs of communication; and they relish the ever-changing nature of human discourse and exchange. They address two central questions: How can letters help us gain insight into the way in which human individuals understand themselves, others, and their culture? And how can letters help us deepen our understanding of the factors that facilitate, problematise, or altogether prevent such understanding? In tracing responses to these questions, they are united by the shared perception that all human expression and communication is informed, and sometimes troubled, by the constant interplay between the individual and the communal, the personal and the social, the private and the public.

Private and Public Voices: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Letters and Letter Writing
Karin Koehler and Kathryn McDonald-Miranda

Part I: Accessing Private Selves

Words between Lovers: The Appearance of Spousal Love in Roman Letters
Amanda Kelley and Heather Moser

The Significance of Property: Accessing the Lives of Elite Roman Women through Cicero’s Letters
Linda McGuire

Paper and Ink Are the Last Witnesses Standing: Narrations from Sachsenhausen 1939-1942
Johanna Kulmala

Part II: The Politics of Interpretation

Making Home, Making Sense of the World: Archival Research with Qiaopi Letters
Shuhua Chen

The Narrative Self: Letters and Experience in Historical Research
Reetta Eiranen

‘I’ve written this very late at night and after some whisky – so forgive it’s [sic] horrible balls’: The Methodological and Ethical Dilemmas of Tracing Personal Politics in Private Letters
Tom Villis

Part III: Public Implications of a Private Medium

I and Thou (and Everyone Else): Public Intimacy and the Unsolicited Observer in the Open Letter Form
Sarah Fielding

Hrotsvit’s Letters: Crucial Pieces to Much Larger Puzzles
Kathryn McDonald-Miranda

‘A Husband without Suspicions does not Intercept His Wife’s Letters’: Letters, Privacy and Gender in the Victorian Novel
Karin Koehler

Part IV: Failed Deliveries?

Failing Communication in Artists’ Correspondence
Hannah Deutschle

Neo-Epistolarity: On the Place and Plays of Letters in Contemporary Culture
Emma de Vries

Karin Koehler received her PhD from the University of St Andrews, where she works as a Teaching Assistant. Her thesis focused on the use and representation of letters in Thomas Hardy’s fiction. Her current project explores the significance of sexual knowledge and ignorance in Victorian and Modernist fiction.

Kathryn McDonald-Miranda received her Master of Arts in History from Cleveland State University in 2010. She currently teaches World Civilisations at Cuyahoga Community College.