Author(s): Barbara Caine (Editor)
There are now many studies of family letters in Europe, but most of them focus on marital letters and letters between parents, especially mothers, and their sons. Little attention has been paid to the letters to and from daughters. This volume seeks to begin filling that gap by exploring the continuities and changes evident in the letters written between mothers and daughters over several centuries. Some of these changes reflect the history of letters and the ways that they were written and delivered, especially the move from the use of scribes and couriers in the medieval and early modern period, which made both the writing and reading of letters a public affair, to the use of pens and the situation in which letters were able to be written in private and read only by the person to whom they were addressed. But the letters also reveal the changing nature of the mother and daughter relationship, as the formal and more distant ties evident in the early period, in which dynastic and other matters were often more important to a mother than her daughter's personal happiness, were replaced by closer and more intimate ties and a concern with particular personalities and individual needs. This book was originally published as a special issue of Women's History Review.