Morgan Emily Kain

Reimaging the Open Letter: A Genre Study

Morgan Emily Kain, Fall 2022

Director: Jennifer Maher

Committee Members: Earl Brooks, Lucille McCarthy

In this thesis, I discuss the generic typifications of the open letter. The absence of a genre study of the open letter is a gap I attempt to close in current literature regarding epistolary writing. Through this examination, I endeavor to show that the open letter is typified by its specific use of multiple audiences, everyday language, affect, and circulation, all of which function uniquely in this genre. I explore the degree to which these typifications are utilized in two major protest movements which have utilized this genre, demonstrating that the genre lends itself particularly to protest movements, both historical and contemporary.