Women, letter-writing and the life of the mind in England, c.1650-1750

Leonie Hannan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
457 Downloads (Pure)


Drawing on national and regional letter collections dating from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, this article explores women's experiences of the life of the mind through an analysis of their letter-writing. This study also highlights the shortcomings of the compartmentalised nature of scholarship on women's writing and intellectual lives and proposes the letter both as a beneficial historical source and methodological tool for research on women's mental worlds. By employing an inclusive definition of intellectual and creative life, and eschewing traditional benchmarks of achievement, this article contends that women took a full part in the cultures of knowledge of their time. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalLiterature and History
Issue number2
Early online date01 Sep 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • letter-writing
  • manuscript studies
  • women's writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • History


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