Courtship, intimate feelings, domestic affairs, politics, gossip and other topics dictated the content and length of letters passing from hand to hand. Matters of privacy circulated in these pieces of paper that were sometimes folded in specific ways to detect intrusion. As Ephraim Chambers says to his wife: “Writing a letter is next of kin to publishing a book. You often don’t know who are to be your readers, and had therefore need to be a little on your guard.” This seminar will guide students through a range of letters written by eighteenth-century women and will offer a discussion of how epistolary writing influenced literary culture as well as material culture.