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The Edwardian Picture Postcard as a Communications Revolution: A Literacy Studies Perspective

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Publication date13/07/2023
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages158
ISBN (electronic)9781003261322
ISBN (print)9781032198873
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Literacy


This monograph offers a novel investigation of the Edwardian picture postcard as an innovative form of multimodal communication, revealing much about the creativity, concerns and lives of those who used postcards as an almost instantaneous form of communication.

In the early twentieth century, the picture postcard was a revolutionary way of combining short messages with an image, making use of technologies in a way impossible in the decades since, until the advent of the digital revolution. This book offers original insights into the historical and social context in which the Edwardian picture postcard emerged and became a craze. It also expands the field of Literacy Studies by illustrating the combined use of posthuman, multimodal, historic and linguistic methodologies to conduct an in-depth analysis of the communicative, sociolinguistic and relational functions of the postcard. Particular attention is paid to how study of the picture postcard can reveal details of the lives and literacy practices of often overlooked sectors of the population, such as working-class women. The Edwardian era in the United Kingdom was one of extreme inequalities and rapid social change, and picture postcards embodied the dynamism of the times.

Grounded in an analysis of a unique, open access, digitized collection of 3,000 picture postcards, this monograph will be of interest to researchers and postgraduate students in the fields of Literacy Studies, sociolinguistics, history of communications and UK social history.