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Title'Of dialogue, that great and powerful art' : a study of the dialogue genre in seventeenth-century England.
AuthorHalford, Jacob
Subject(s)DA Great Britain
AbstractThis thesis examines the dialogue genre in seventeenth-century England. In 1681 when Henry Care established his periodical The Popish Courant he chose the format of a dialogue because people were ‘so set upon dialoging.’ Care’s choice of dialogue for his periodical is indicative of the popularity of dialogue in the seventeenth century. Yet, despite the popularity that dialogue enjoyed in this period it has not received comparative attention by scholars. This thesis seeks to address this gap and make two specific historiographical contributions. Firstly, it demonstrates how the digitization of early modern sources can enable scholars to approach literary history from perspectives that physical books prevent. Using the digital collections of Early English Books Online, British Periodicals Online, and Eighteenth Century Collections Online for its source material this thesis has used a database of dialogues to analyze the genre and provide contextual knowledge about the genre as a whole that can illuminate the rhetorical objectives behind specific uses of dialogue. This is particularly exposed in the final chapter that utilizes this contextual information to understand the appeal of dialogue in Roger L’Estrange’s Observator. Secondly this thesis adds to the growing number of studies of early modern genres such as pamphlets, newspapers, ballads, and chapbooks. The period under discussion was one of significant change in terms of political and social circumstances and this thesis demonstrates that dialogue was sensitive to these political events. By situating the dialogue within the broader print landscape of seventeenth-century England the thesis maps how dialogue adapted to changing circumstances with pamphlet dialogues, periodical dialogues, and dialogues of the dead, in particular emerging in response to social and political events. Looking at the dialogue in the context of other literary forms this thesis argues that the appeal of dialogue was its flexibility and ability to educate a broad range of people across all demographics of seventeenth-century England.
TypeThesis or Dissertation; NonPeerReviewed
Identifier Halford, Jacob (2016) 'Of dialogue, that great and powerful art' : a study of the dialogue genre in seventeenth-century England. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.