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Title: Gentle readers : rhetoric, civility and drama in early modern England
Author: Ross, Christina Gigliola.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University of London
Date of Award: 2004
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This dissertation attempts to trace some of the various cross-fertilizations between three roughly contemporary genres of discourse during the latter part of the sixteenth and early seventeenthc enturies. I aim to show that a shared set of concerns regarding individual agency and the moral acceptability of profit underlies many of these texts, and that they therefore benefit from being read against one another. Chapter One examines the use of classical concepts of virtue in early modern civility literature and the ways in which this appropriation can be understood as an attempt to forge a model of masculine agency in response to changing economic and social circumstances in England during the course of the sixteenth century. I argue that the use of the Aristotelian concept of deliberated choice combined with Renaissance understandings of conversation and propriety contributed to an increased stress on individual interiority and to newly instrumental modes of social bonding. Chapter Two looks at the links between humanistic pedagogy and rhetorical practice and civil or temperate behaviour, as well as the means by which standard tropes of imitation and discursive production helped to negotiate the potential ethical difficulties associated with profit-making in the early modern period. Chapter Three focuses on one particular text on civility-Lodowick Bryskett's The Discourse of Ciuill Life (1606)- in relation to its Irish context; and looks at the ways in which rhetorical techniques of emplotment and the rearranging of found matter were implicated in colonial discourse of the period. Chapter Four discusses the means by which the productive tensions and exchanges between civil and uncivil behaviour, insularity and social circulation, were explored in, and helped to structure, certain city comedies by John Marston and Ben Jonson.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available