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Title: Diderot and the art of letter writing : a literary and rhetorical study of the 'Correspondance'
Author: Roberts, Ursula Yvonne
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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The aim of this study is to give a coherent overview of the Correspondence in terms of epistolarity and as a text that is amenable to critical literary analysis in its own right. The Correspondence is analysed in terms of rhetoric. Diderot employs rhetoric to tailor his letters to their addressees. Thus an integral part of letter writing which is examined throughout is the adoption by Diderot of different epistolary personae and the various means of persuasion used. The first chapter is a discussion of the essential historical background needed in order to understand the epistolary form as practised in the eighteenth-century. The second chapter is an introduction to the issues surrounding the publication history of the Correspondence and its various editions. The different genres of letters found in the Correspondence are then examined. These are categorized by using seventeenth and eighteenth-century letter manuals as the basis for the definition of these genres. The focus of the study then moves to a detailed analysis of the letters. The third chapter is a consideration of constant features of the epistolary form and how these relate to Diderot's actual letter writing practice. These constants which appear in most writing about epistolarity are absence, temporal distortion and the creation of epistolary personae. This is followed by a discussion of the letters in terms of sensibility, and the discourse of love and friendship, focusing on the letters to Anne-Toinette Champion, Sophie Volland and Grimm. The discourses of love and friendship are very much interrelated in Diderot's letters. The fifth chapter is an analysis of the different forms of wit and humour in the Correspondence. Wit and humour are another means of reinforcing the reader centred and interactive nature of letters.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available