Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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Over the past two centuries concepts of love, as well as the nature of intimate relations, have undergone modifications. Along with these modifications, the language of desire, the text type of the love letter and love-letter writing practice have changed as well. It is therefore surprising that certain elements of the correspondence between prospective brides and grooms of the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie seem today to be enjoying a comeback on the Internet. Some of the parameters, however, have changed. This essay will explore the similarities and differences of intimate literacy from a historical and pragmatic point of view. On the one hand it will discuss the text type in its pragmatic, textual, stylistic and medial aspects, and on the other hand it will focus on a number of distinct writing practices. The essay arises from a larger book project that investigates the interrelations among literary, social and technological change and persistence. In the context of this larger project, I have assembled a corpus of more than 7,500 love letters (letters, postcards, telegrams, e-mails and text messages) in the Zurich Love Letter Archive (ZLA). The empirical materials discussed here are drawn from this archive.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): German; literacy; love letter; style; text type; variation
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