The Correspondence Project

Is paper a disappearing medium?

As the reader will soon discover, this page of the blog has no direct connection to the animal focus of this blog. But it is related to the research I am undertaking for the PhD.

Scholars of the nineteenth century are all well aware of the important role that written correspondence and the networks that were formed through these letters and replies, played within knowledge production of this era. Living in the age of email and text message, facebook and twitter, it is difficult to imagine what it would have been like when letters were the main method of communication. I realise that it sounds strange that I  am discussing the importance and the lost art of letter writing on the blog – a very twenty-first century phenomena. But I can’t really write to all of the readers of this blog individually about the results of my own ‘experimental’ correspondence project.

So this is how it is going to work. I have syndicated my family, who are spread across Britain, and soon will include an international branch. Although our network will not be involved in the production of knowledge (like the C19th networks were), we will be sharing our thoughts and observations on our lives and experiences.

And I will use this page to update you on our progress – which initially will focus on whether I can encourage everyone enough to get it to work. (My brother is particularly reluctant to spend the time writing a letter!). But what will we learn about the whole process, what will we learn about each other, and what will we learn about ourselves? And will I garner any insights into the nineteenth century from this venture?

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