Letters have long been an outlet for political expression, whether they articulate the personal politics of the daily routine or the political views of individuals who witness or participate in dramatic events.
In addition, letters can be unusually revealing records of the relations between men and women.
Though letters have frequently been studied as a privileged space for literary, social, and cultural expression, the three-dimensional relationship of politics, gender, and letters has not been the focus of an entire volume.
The nineteen essays in this collection examine how the gendered nature of political literacy is revealed over a 250-year period through letter writing, whether the writer is famous or unknown, the wife of a prominent politician or activist, a political prisoner or political militant.
Ranging wide in terms of subject matter and geography, the contributors examine correspondence that ponders familial concerns, as well as letters providing political commentary on the effects of war or revolution on everyday life.
Among the impressive group of international scholars are Jim Allen, Clare Brant, Edith Gelles, Jane Rendall, and SiAcn Reynolds.