The Pastons of Norfolk left behind them an incomparable picture of life in fifteenth-century England in the earliest great collection of family letters in English. The letters span three generations and most were written during the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV, and Richard III, in a period of political turmoil, local anarchy, and war abroad and at home. They reveal personal hopes and anxieties, and contain as well as business matters a wealth of information on leisure pursuits, education, and domestic life. The writers express themselves with a clarity and vigour that is remarkable at this early date, and the letter illustrate, as no other documents can, the state of the language in daily use immediately before and after the introduction of printing. This modernized selection prepared from the original manuscripts is designed to present the full range of the Pastons’ principle concerns.
Princeton University Library