Precious Fragments

Aerial photo of four pairs of hands using different handheld smart devices

"Precious Fragments": The Letter as a Gift and an Object of Value

We ask all attendees to bring one letter that provides an interesting take on how eighteenth-century letter-writers attributed value to their letters and/or conceived of their letters as gifts. We will circulate in advance two pieces of background reading, and at the start of the session Jennifer Wood (University of Oxford) and Kelsey Rubin-Detlev (University of Oxford) will offer a 15-20 minute introduction to raise various theoretical questions about letters as objects of exchange, as gifts, currency, debts, and obligations.

Please RSVP by Friday, 27 February to to receive the background reading and to help us get an accurate count for our free sandwich lunch.

Enlightenment Correspondences

Contact name: Dr Kelsey Rubin-Detlev

Contact email:

Audience: Open to all