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Title: Dialogic conflict and the rhetoric of (de)legitimation in Milton and his contemporaries
Author: Park, E.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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Abstract:
This thesis examines the configurations of dialogic conflict and the rhetorical modes of legitimisation and delegitimation in the texts of Milton and his contemporaries. The English Revolution saw the development of major controversies over episcopacy, licensing, regicide and republicanism in the Cromwellian Protetectorate, which were crucially represented in linguistic and semantic conflict encompassing distinctive rhetorical strategies of legitimation and delegitimation among contending factions or writers. This thesis traces how the writers’ dissimilar criteria and choices of specific references in using evaluative words and signs promoted the conflict over language, sign and signification, and how the linguistic conflict was related to the rhetorical and ideological processes by which they had tried to secure the legitimacy of their positions or to attack and expose their adversaries’ political and religious interests as illegitimate. It argues that Milton’s Paradise Lost is an epitome of the linguistic conflict and the rhetorical practice of legitimation and delegitimation at the level of theme and structure. The introduction provides a theoretical framework for the analysis of the central themes by drawing on the model of dialogic conflict by Mikhail Bakhtin and V.N. Voloshinov and its relevance to Renaissance rhetorical theory. The thesis is divided into three parts. The first, chapters 1 and 2, outlines antagonistic rhetorical modes and strategies, appropriation of authoritative texts and conflicts over words and meanings in the episcopacy and licensing controversies. It also traces the figurative and logical strategies in Milton’s rhetoric of delegitimation, comparing his anti-prelatical tracts and Areopagitica with the various forms of writings by pro- and anti-Episcopalians and the Levellers. The second part of the thesis is more focused upon the question of legitimation, considering textual competition and semantic conflict regarding the regicide and republicanism in the Cromwellian Protectorate. Chapters 3 and 4 discuss the similarities and differences of legitimation strategies in regicide writings and republican pro-Protectoral prose and poetry, and the problems revealed in the republican legitimation of the Protectorate in particular. They continue to show the extent of dialogic conflict with respect to textual competition in the Eikon series, appropriation of figurative signs between Royalists and regicide apologists, and semantic conflict surrounding the concept of civil liberty between pro- and anti-Cromwellians. The final part, chapter 5, traces the intersection, both thematic and structural, between the principal concerns of Milton’s prose writings and those of his epic, focusing on his legitimation of epic genre and Arian heterodoxy, and the ways of speaking and interpretation between his main characters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.660342  DOI: Not available
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