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Shakespeare and Social Dialogue
Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters

$49.99 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521030557

$ 49.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Shakespeare and Social Dialogue develops a systematic analysis of the rhetoric of social exchange in early modern England. Magnusson brings together writings, particularly letters, from the Elizabethan period that are normally read as historical documents and compares them with Shakespeare's play texts and sonnets. Using techniques from discourse analysis and linguistic pragmatics, especially "politeness theory," she argues that Shakespeare's language is rooted in the everyday language of Elizabethan culture. The author's readings bridge the gap between new historicism and linguistic criticism.

    • Introduces methods for analysing Shakespeare's language in the context of the everyday rhetoric of social exchange in his time
    • Analyses the complex rhetoric of Elizabethan letters that are usually read only as historical documents
    • Brings techniques from discourse analysis and linguistic pragmatics, especially 'politeness theory', to the close reading of historical texts, both literary and non-literary
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "In this learned three-part study, Magnusson...employs linguistic criticism and new historicism to create a new understanding of Shakespearean dialogue in terms of the social and class relationships expressed in the speech forms of the culture. Highly readable prose and sociolinguistic insights make this book essential reading for graduate students, faculty, and theater professionals." F.K. Barasch, Choice

    "Her study thus makes a strong contribution to the study of both literature and rhetoric." Judith Rice Henderson, Rhetorica

    "...splendid book that offers both a compelling method of close reading and a number of careful, discriminating analyses of Renaissance English texts." Joutnal of English and Germanic Philology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521030557
    • length: 232 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.366kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Rhetoric of Politeness:
    1. Politeness and dramatic character in Henry VIII
    2. 'Power to hurt': language and service in Sidney household letters and Shakespeare's sonnets
    Part II. Eloquent Relations in Letters:
    3. Scripting social relations in Erasmus and Day
    4. Reading courtly and administrative letters
    5. Linguistic stratification, merchant discourse, and social change
    Part III. A Prosaics of Conversation:
    6. The pragmatics of repair in King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing
    7. 'Voice potential': language and symbolic capital in Othello

  • Author

    Lynne Magnusson, Queen's University, Ontario

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