Congratulations to our alumna Martha Carlin (PhD 1985). Her new book “Lost Letters of Medieval Life: English Society, 1200-1250” (co-written with David Crouch, University of Hull) has just been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Martha Carlin is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
From the book description: “Everyday life in early thirteenth-century England is revealed in vivid detail in this riveting collection of correspondence of people from all classes, from peasants and shopkeepers to bishops and earls. The documents edited here include letters between masters and servants, husbands and wives, neighbors and enemies, and cover a wide range of topics: politics and war, going to fairs and going to law, attending tournaments and stocking a game park, borrowing cash and doing favors for friends, investigating adultery and building a windmill.
While letters by celebrated people have long been known, the correspondence of ordinary people has not survived and has generally been assumed never to have existed in the first place. Martha Carlin and David Crouch, however, have discovered numerous examples of such correspondence hiding in plain sight. The letters can be found in manuscripts called formularies—the collections of form letters and other model documents that for centuries were used to teach the arts of letter-writing and keeping accounts.”