Letters as prefatory material

dedication prefatory material letter
div salute opener

Encoding letters which serve as prefatory material

Prefatory material is often presented in the form of a letter, making greater or lesser use of the conventions of that genre. In some cases the epistolary features may be very clearly foregrounded: the section may begin with a salutation in the form Dear... or To So-and-So..., and may conclude with a formal salutation and the writer’s name, and possibly even the place of writing. In other cases the epistolary characteristics may be weaker: the piece may lack a signature, and the opening salutation may be presented more as a heading than as an address to a specific person: for instance, To the Reader or An Address to the Reader. In cases where a heading of this sort is the only epistolary feature, we recommend encoding it with head rather than salute and treating the piece simply as a piece of prefatory prose (encoded with div type="prefatory" or div type="dedication"). In cases where the text foregrounds the personal nature of the address and explicitly points up the letter form, using opener, salute, signed, and the other elements associated with letters makes more sense. For more information on encoding letters, see letters and similar documents.


Example 1.

<div type="dedication">
<head>To the Honourable and truly vertuous Lady 
<persName>Anne Wroth</persName>, Wife to the Right Worshipful
<persName>Sir Henry Wroth</persName>.</head>
<opener><salute rend="case(allcaps)">Madam,</salute></opener>
<p>The Duty I owe to your Ladyship and the rest of your Noble Familie 
commands more than this Booke is able to express...</p>
<p>The Honour your Ladyship does me in accepting the 
Dedication of it, will, I hope, cherish their belief, and encourage 
their Practice, and assuredly it doth adde very much to the Obligation of,</p>
<salute>Madam, Your Honours most Faithful, Real, and most Humble
<signed><persName>Hannah Wolley</persName>.</signed>