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Business and Official Correspondence: Historical Investigations

Historical Investigations


Marina Dossena and Susan M. Fitzmaurice

This volume focuses on the nature of official correspondence produced in the period after 1500, from Early Modern to nineteenth-century English. The contributions reflect the extent to which the genre is somewhat plastic in this period, gradually acquiring distinguishing conventions and protocols as the situations in which the letters themselves are encoded acquire more distinctiveness. Although correspondence has long been the object of diachronic studies, very little seems to be available as far as specialized usage is concerned, hence the specific interest in letters exchanged within scientific, diplomatic, and business networks. In addition, the study of business and official correspondence offered here profits from a multi-disciplinary and multi-methodological approach, as it relies on a rich array of databases and corpora of correspondence, ranging from highly specialized collections to more broadly constructed diagnostic corpora, in which correspondence is just one register or text-type. While specific attention is paid to phenomena relating to the expression of positive and negative politeness through the investigation of authentic (rather than constructed) texts, methodological issues are also taken into consideration.
Contents: Maurizio Gotti: Communal Correspondence in Early Modern English: The Philosophical Transactions Network – Urszula Okulska: Textual Strategies in the Diplomatic Correspondence of the Middle and Early Modern English Periods: The Narrative Report Letter as a Genre – Susan Fitzmaurice: Diplomatic Business: Information, Power, and Persuasion in Late Modern English Diplomatic Correspondence – Manfred Markus: Abbreviations in Early Modern English Correspondence – Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade: Edward Pearson Esqr.: The Language of an Eighteenth-century Secretary – Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti: «Conduct yourself towards all persons on every occasion with civility and in a wise and prudent manner; this will render you esteemed»: Stance Features in Nineteenth-century Business Letters – Marina Dossena: Stance and Authority in Nineteenth-century Bank Correspondence - a Case Study – Richard Dury: A Corpus of Nineteenth-century Business Correspondence: Methodology of Transcription.