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Dinah Birch: Hate Mail, 21 September 2023

Penning Poison: A History of Anonymous Letters 
by Emily Cockayne.
Oxford, 299 pp., £20, September, 978 0 19 879505 6
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... to reveal about the preoccupations that lay behind the behaviour of their authors and recipients. Emily Cockayne’s history focuses on anonymous letters written between 1760 and 1939. This makes the title of her book slightly misleading, since the phrase ‘poison pen’ didn’t enter the language until 1911 (when it appeared in a headline in a ...

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