1. Structure of the Corpus
The Corpus of Early English Correspondence (CEEC) has been compiled for the study of social variables in the history of English. To enable this, great attention has been paid to the authenticity of letters on the one hand and to the social representativeness of the writers on the other. The timespan covered is from 1417 to 1681, and the size of the whole corpus is 2.7 million words. Because of widespread illiteracy, however, only the highest ranks of society are well represented, and women’s letters form no more than one fifth of the full CEEC. For more information on the compilation principles see Nevalainen & Raumolin-Brunberg (eds.) (1996) and Keränen (1998).
The Corpus of Early English Correspondence Sampler (CEECS) represents the non-copyrighted materials included in the Corpus of Early English Correspondence. This means that the editors of the collections included here have died over 70 years ago. We have also included some material (re-)edited by us (see Henslowe and Marchall collections).
The sampler corpus (CEECS) reflects the structure of the full CEEC only in some respects. The time covered is nearly the same (1418-1680) and here too the bulk of the material is at the latter end of the time span. 23 letter collections have been included with altogether 194 informants. The size of the CEECS is 450,000 words. It has been divided into two parts for technical reasons. CEECS1 covers the 15th and 16th centuries, with the exception of the Hutton collection, which goes on to the 17th century. CEECS2 consists of 17th century material, only 3 letters in Original 3 are from the late 16th century.
The order of collections in the sampler has been decided on the first date of each collection (with the exception of Original 3) and is as follows: