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Shakespeare and Social Dialogue
Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters

£35.99

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

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About the Authors
  • Shakespeare and Social Dialogue deals with Shakespeare's language and the rhetoric of Elizabethan letters. Moving beyond claims about the language of individual Shakespearean characters, Magnusson analyses dialogue, conversation, sonnets and particularly letters of the period, which are normally read as historical documents, as the verbal negotiation of specific social and power relations. Thus, the rhetoric of service or friendship is explored in texts as diverse as Sidney family letters, Shakespearean sonnets and Burghley's state letters. The book draws on ideas from discourse analysis and linguistic pragmatics, especially 'politeness theory', relating these to key ideas in epistolary handbooks of the period, including those by Erasmus and Angel Day and demonstrates that Shakespeare's language is rooted in the everyday language of Elizabethan culture. Magnusson creates a way of reading both literary texts and historical documents which bridges the gap between the methods of new historicism and linguistic criticism.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    • Analyses the complex rhetoric of Elizabethan letters that are usually read only as historical documents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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    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

    Acknowledgements
    Introduction
    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
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Lynne Magnusson, Queen's University, Ontario

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