The Official Letter. Remarks on Style and Editing. Count Hernán Núñez’ Letters to the Spanish Dowager Queen, Mariana de Austria

Ingmar Söhrman


Epistolary writing consists of contemporary testimonies of political and cultural events and linguistic usages and it is vital to have access to good editions. There are two main groups of epistolary writing: informal and official letters. This article focuses on the characteristics of an official letter from the late 17th century.

There are three basic prerequisites for any kind of written communication: Purpose, Style and Distinctive character. The main purpose is to transmit a message that will be read by several people who might be unknown to the sender and the letter is often filed in archives. The style of an official letter is often very elaborate and even if the purpose and style are basic when analyzing texts every written message has its own distinctive character that could be seen as stylistic but not always so like in the case of diplomatic letters where some parts of the text can be codified.

All these characteristics are dealt with in this article, which is based on letters that the Spanish ambassador to Sweden in 1671 wrote to the Dowager Queen of Spain.

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