Felicity Lyn Maxwell
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Upper servants’ letters and loyalties in the Shrewsbury–Stuart domestic politics of the 1580s
in Bess of Hardwick
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This chapter analyses how the Shrewsburys’ servants’ letters represent the micropolitics of their employers’ combined or dispersed households throughout the turbulent 1580s, revealing that they used a range of rhetorical techniques, such as positive and negative characterisation, deferential and emotional language, strongly worded advice and practical problem-solving to perform their duties and demonstrate their allegiance at all costs. It concludes with reflections on the significance of servants’ emotional, political and epistolary engagements.

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