This edition includes 111 letters and a brief note. Written by Miss Carter, they are dated from 23 October 1737, when she was a young woman in her twentieth year, to 30 May 1804, less than two years before her death on 19 February 1806. They have not been published before and are a very small portion of the thousands of letters that she sent and received. Part of their value lies in the fact that they provide a better understanding of the learned, religious person whom her nephew, Montagu Pennington, wished to portray in his Memoirs of Miss Carter. They show, as well, how generous and dependable a friend she was; how faithful in keeping contact; how witty and lighthearted she could be; and how serious. For each friend and correspondent Miss Carter uses a distinct tone. The contents of her letters are tailored to meet the character, the interests, the concerns, the situation and style of life of the person to whom she is writing; and each letter reflects the particular relationships between Miss Carter and her correspondent.
" "Moira Ferguson has selected wisely from well-known and little-known figures and from fiction, polemic and poetry to illustrate the long and diverse history of feminist reflection up to and including Mary Wollstonecraft.... Good reading for scholars and a fine book for classroom use." -- Natalie Zemon Davis." -- from back cover.
Early modern books were not stable or settled outputs of the press but dynamic shape-changers, subject to reworking, re-presentation, revision, and reinterpretation. Their history is often the history of multiple, sometimes competing, agencies as their texts were re-packaged, redirected, and transformed in ways that their original authors might hardly recognize. Processes of editing, revision, redaction, selection, abridgement, glossing, disputation, translation, and posthumous publication resulted in a textual elasticity and mobility that could dissolve distinctions between text and paratexts, textuality and intertextuality, manuscript and print, author and reader or editor, such that title and author's name are no longer sufficient pointers to a book's identity or contents. This collection brings together original essays by an international team of eminent scholars in the field of book history that explore these various kinds of textual inconstancy and variability. The essays are alive to the impact of commercial and technological aspects of book production and distribution (discussing, for example, the career of the pre-eminent bookseller John Nourse, the market appeal of abridgements, and the financial incentives to posthumous publication), but their interest is also in the many additional forms of agency that shaped texts and their meanings as books were repurposed to articulate, and respond to, a variety of cultural and individual needs. They engage with early modern religious, political, philosophical, and scholarly trends and debates as they discuss a wide range of genres and kinds of publication including fictional and non-fictional prose, verse miscellanies, abridgements, sermons, religious controversy, and of authors including Lucy Hutchinson, Richard Baxter, John Dryden, Thomas Burnet, John Tillotson, Henry Maundrell, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Richardson, John Wesley, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The result is a richly diverse collection that demonstrates the embeddedness of the book trade in the cultural dynamics of early modernity.