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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The printing press wrought huge changes in European culture, and among these is the proliferation of letters and books on the stage. In Shakespeare’s comedies letters become an integral part of wooing, pledging the writer’s love and beseeching the affectionate response of the reader. Letters, however, may prove unreliable as an indicator of the writer’s heart. And those letters at times may represent society’s reservations about the printed word, which moved in tandem with the written. Figurative language, whether deployed in writing or print, registers the twofold status that words may possess in a romantic context. By the time Queen Elizabeth died, love letters had become a source of mockery.

Keywords: books, letters, print, writing, reading, love, metaphor

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