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Penning Poison: A History of Anonymous Letters

Penning Poison: A History of Anonymous Letters

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Accusatory, libellous, or just bizarre, Penning Poison unveils the history of anonymous letter-writing, tracing the stories of such letters to all corners of English society over the period 1760-1939. Some messages were accusatory, some libellous, others bizarre. Technology, new postal networks, forensic techniques, and the emergence of professional police all influence the phenomenon of poison letter campaigns. This book puts the letters back into their local and psychology context, extending the work of detectives, to discover who may have written them and why. By examining the ways in which these letters spread anxiety in the past this fascinating book grapples with the question of how nasty messages can turn into an epidemic. The book recovers many lost stories about how we used to write to one another, finding that perhaps the anxieties of our internet age are not as new as we think.

Hardback, 320 pages
Measures 22.2 x 14.3 x 3cm

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