Epistolary cultures - letters and letter-writing in early modern Europe.

Vermeer The Love Letter for Epistolary Cultures March 2016

Friday 18 March 2016, 9.00AM19 Mar, 5:00 pm

From the place of Cicero’s intimate letters in the development of Renaissance humanism, to the knowledge networks of merchants, collectors and scientists, to the role of women in the republic of letters, recent years have seen a flowering of studies on the practice of letter-writing in Early Modern Europe, as well as major editing projects of early modern letters - Hartlib, Comenius, Scaliger, Casaubon, Browne, Greville, and the EMLO and Cultures of Knowledge projects. This conference will explore the many aspects of early modern epistolary culture in the sixteenth and seventeenth century in its Latin and vernacular forms. It will consider topics such as the intellectual geographies of letter-writing, the connections between vernacular and Latin letter cultures, questions of genre, rhetoric and style, as well as the political, religious, and scientific uses of letters.

This conference brings together speakers, both established and emergent, from around the globe, who are working on early modern letter writing and its networks, whether professional, for personal and intimate communication, or within scientific and humanist cultures. Strands of the conference will explore the material forms of writing, letter writing theory, and the importance and use of existing collections. Speakers come from a multitude of disciplines and one key goal of the conference will be consider how these disparate areas respond to early modern letter writing theory and practice.

The conference includes a workshop, which involves hands-on reconstruction of early modern letter writing devices for ‘letter-locking’ using paper, wax and seals, led by a team from MIT and Oxford.

Keynote speakers:

Dr Andrew Zurcher * (Cambridge) Correspondence of Sir Thomas Browne

Prof Henry Woudhuysen * (Oxford), The letters of Fulke Greville

There are some fifty speakers at the conference, and details of the panels and speakers can be found in the Epistolary Cultures Programme (MS Word  , 103kb) 

To register, please follow the appropriate link below: 

Full delegate registration Fee £40 

Postgraduate Registration Fee £20 


Participants are requested to arrange their own accommodation and further information is available here Accommodation (PDF  , 287kb) 


Dr Freya Sierhuis (freya.sierhuis@york.ac.uk)

Dr Kevin Killeen (kevin.killeen@york.ac.uk

Location: The Tree House, Berrick Saul Building