By Carrie Hintz
When first released in 1888, the letters of Dorothy Osborne to William Temple - written among 1652 and 1654 - created one of those cult phenomenon within the Victorian interval. Osborne and Temple, either of their early twenties, shared a romance that used to be antagonistic by way of their households, and Osborne herself was once nearly always lower than surveillance. Osborne's letters supply a unprecedented glimpse into an early sleek woman's existence at a pivotal element, as she attempted to discover how to marry for romance in addition to fulfil her duties to her family.
Combining old and biographical learn with feminist thought, Carrie Hintz considers Osborne's imaginative and prescient of letter writing, her literary fulfillment, and her literary impacts. Osborne has lengthy been missed as a author, creating a complete and thorough research lengthy late. whereas the nineteenth-century reception of the letters is testomony to the long-lasting public fascination with restricted love narratives, Osborne's eloquent and outspoken articulation of her expectancies and needs additionally makes her letters compelling in our personal time.
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Extra resources for An Audience of One: Dorothy Osborne's Letters to Sir William Temple, 1652-1654
Similar language of reciprocity was at work in Osborne's treatment of the obligations of the letter exchange: Would to god you would leave that trick of makeing Excuses, can you think it necessary to mee, or beleeve that your Letters can bee soe long as to make them unpleasing to mee, are mine soe to you, if they are not, yours, never will be soe to mee. You see I say any thing to you, out of a beleife, that though my letter's were more impertinent then they are, you would not bee without them nor wish them shorter, why should you bee lesse kinde.
167). Her hope for a better marital partnership than the ones she observed seems to have rested in the narrative she and Temple were constructing together, her ability to convince him of the importance of her preferences and hopes, and her facilitation of a free and shifting dialogue between the lovers. ' If Osborne had explored merely the darkest possibilities, she would have been giving way to gloom, and if she had shown only the happiest, she would have been a Pollyanna. Her idealism is part of the rigour that led her to comment so powerfully on the unions around her, and to expect Temple to respond to her remarks.
In point of fact a word is a two-sided act. It is determined equally by whose word it is and for whom it is meant. As word, it is precisely the product of the reciprocal relationship between speaker and listener, addresser and addressee. 12 A writer's historical moment and audience is imagined and experienced in the moment of literary creation. Perhaps this awareness of audience, this shaping of words and selves, is even more pronounced in letter writing. Janet Altman affirms this: 'In no other genre do readers figure so prominently [sic] within the world of the narrative and in the generation of the text ...
An Audience of One: Dorothy Osborne's Letters to Sir William Temple, 1652-1654 by Carrie Hintz