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Writing across the Social Spectrum

Letter Writing Practices in Nineteenth-Century Northern England

The North of England, the cradle of industrialisation, was particularly affected by the profound changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. This book looks into the effects that these dramatic changes had on society, and especially on literacy and social mobility, as reflected in the lives and language use of a selection of Northern letter writers. The study, which is based on previously unknown letter collections, provides new insights into social processes and focuses in particular on the lives and education opportunities that the three layers of society (the elite, the middling sort, and the labouring poor) had in Northern England during the early nineteenth century (c.1820-1850). It is the first study to date in the field of English (socio-)historical linguistics that investigates language variation and change across all layers of society during the Late Modern English period (1700-1900), and one which provides an alternative history to the standardisation of English and its effects on actual language users.

Author Information

Anita Auer, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

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Audience: Researchers interested in the North of England, Social History, English Language

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