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Here are some notes on the parsing semantics:

  • Most non-multipart type messages are parsed as a single message object with a string payload. These objects will return False for is_multipart(). Their get_payload() method will return a string object.

  • All multipart type messages will be parsed as a container message object with a list of sub-message objects for their payload. The outer container message will return True for is_multipart() and their get_payload() method will return the list of Message subparts.

  • Most messages with a content type of message/* (e.g. message/delivery-status and message/rfc822) will also be parsed as container object containing a list payload of length 1. Their is_multipart() method will return True. The single element in the list payload will be a sub-message object.

  • Some non-standards compliant messages may not be internally consistent about their multipart-edness. Such messages may have a Content-Type: header of type multipart, but their is_multipart() method may return False. If such messages were parsed with the FeedParser, they will have an instance of the MultipartInvariantViolationDefect class in their defects attribute list. See email.errors for details.

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