16 December 2009

Poster, Carol; Mitchell, Linda C. (eds.) (2007) Letter-writing manuals and instruction from antiquity to the present: historical and bibliographic studies. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. XIV, 346 p. ISBN-13 978-1-57003-651-4, ISBN-10 1-57003-651-9. Price not stated.

This collection of articles and bibliographies provides a comprehensive history of letter-writing theory and instruction from Isokrates to e-mail. The main part of the book contains eleven essays: "Classical epistolary theory and the Letters of Isocrates" (Robert G. Sullivan), "A conversation halved: epistolary theory in Greco-Roman antiquity" (Carol Poster), "The ars dictaminis, the formulary, and Medieval epistolary practice" (Malcolm Richardson), "If you can't join them, beat them; or, When grammar met business writing (in fifteenth-century Oxford)" (Martin Camargo), "From ars dictaminis to ars conscribendi epistolis: Renaissance letter-writing manuals in the context of Humanism" (Gideon Burton), "Dictamen in England, 1500-1700" (Lawrence D. Green), "Letter writing and vernacular literacy in sixteenth-century England" (W. Webster Newbold), "Humanism and the Humanities: Erasmus's Opus de conscribendis epistolis in sixteenth-century schools" (Judith Rice Henderson), "Letter-writing instruction manuals in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England" (Linda C. Mitchell), "Vestiges of letter writing in composition textbooks, 1850-1914" (John T. Gage) and "Letter writing in the late age of print: electronic mail and the ars dictaminis" (Joyce R. Walker). In addition, there are seven extensive appendices containing bibliographic data for various periods of letter-writing instruction.

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