Covering nearly one thousand years, this volume explores medieval and modern English texts from fresh perspectives. Within the relatively new field of historical discourse linguistics, the synchronic analysis of large textual units and consideration of text-external features in relation to discourse has so far received little attention. To fill that gap, this volume offers studies of medieval instructional and religious texts and correspondence from the early modern period. The contributions highlight writer-audience relationships, the intended use of texts, descriptions of text-type, and questions of orality and manuscript contextualization. The topics, ranging from the reception of Old English texts to the conventions of practical instruction in Middle English to the epistolary construction of science in early Modern English, are directly relevant to historical linguists, discourse and text linguists, and students of the history of English.