Universiteit Leiden

nl en


With kind regards: September 2022

  • Martin Gravel
  • Margreet Brandsma
Tuesday 13 September 2022
With kind regards: Convention, standards and breaking the rules in letter-writing
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden

How letters were read: New considerations on Carolingian practices

Martin Gravel (Paris 8 University Vincennes-Saint-Denis ):

Epistolography is almost as old as writing itself. It is, however, far from static in its forms and usage. In the Latin tradition, it has been observed that orality played an important role in letter composition and reception. Scribes, messengers and the entourage of recipients played an active, even decisive part in the epistolary interaction. This field of inquiry calls for new work, and for the Middle Ages, the 9th-10th centuries offer interesting possibilities, as they left us with  the oldest letters on parchment kept in their original form. These have not been sufficiently studied from the perspective of their reception, and we will try to show how they can be of use in the first part of this presentation. These originals certainly do not tell the whole story, however, as we will demonstrate bu using examples of “angry” letters kept as copies, whose reception can hardly have been in line with what the originals suggest.

Lieve ende zeer geminde neve’. Conventions and strategies of communication in late medieval noble women’s letters”

Margreet Brandsma (independent scholar)

How did women in high positions address their male family members when they wanted to achieve political goals? 15th Century letters by duchesses and countesses residing in the Low Countries, like Jacqueline of Bavaria, Margaret of Burgundy and Isabel of Portugal, will serve as examples to discern different communication strategies, depending on the sender’s dynastic position and personality, as well as the political situation. Conventions in asking for favours and ways to communicate points of view will be discussed.

This event is part of the series "With kind regards: convention, standards and breaking the rules in letter-writing". For more information, please click the button below.

With kind regards: Convention, standards and breaking the rules in letter-writing
This website uses cookies.  More information.