Jane Austen, emailer  DEC 04 2009

In London during Jane Austen's lifetime, mail didn't move at such a snail's pace.

Austen wrote more than 3,000 letters, many to her sister Cassandra. They corresponded constantly, starting new letters to each other the minute they finished the last one and sharing the minutia of their lives. From reading Austen's novels, I'd always assumed that people in her era spent a long time waiting for the mail. But the show mentions that during Austen's life, mail in London and environs was delivered six times a day. Sometimes, a letter sent in the morning was delivered the same evening. Which makes snail mail sound a lot more like email or twitttering.

Update: Two related links: The Twitter-like postcard culture of Edwardian Britain and from 1912, A History of Inland Transport and Communication in England by Edwin A. Pratt. (thx, liz & martin)

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