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Title: Receiving revolution : the newspaper press, revolutionary ideology and politics in Britain, 1789-1848
Author: Jackson, Owen David
ISNI:       0000 0001 3588 1141
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2000
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Through a close reading of Bristol newspapers this thesis considers the intrusion of revolutionary idioms into the English language. This was a far more hesitant and nuanced process than the 'logocide' argued for by Burke whose notion of a 'linguistic terror' is overly dramatic. In adopting a longer term perspective and considering the revolutionary examples of 1830 and 1848, the violence of Burke's model is replaced by a more nuanced understanding of the range of idiomatic choices presented to British politics by the French experience. A brief introductory section addresses key historiographical and methodological issues. Chapter one explores the development of revolutionary reporting in the Bristol newspapers between 1792 and 1848. The first half of the chapter examines the subtle combination of idioms and rhetorical devices evident in the five Bristol titles for 1792. Reports on French and British affairs operated within a consciously circular discourse founded on the interchangeability of 'signified' and 'referent'. In this way the revolutionary example was fictionalised, demonised and emptied of any political value. The second half of the chapter then focuses on the decline of this discursive loyalism over the period to 1848. Later chapters concentrate upon the trajectory of specific terms into British political discourse. Chapter two addresses two inter-related questions. Firstly, how did the polarised discursive structure identified in chapter one incorporate examples of British interaction with, and sympathy for, revolutionary France? Secondly, how did the revolutionary notion of fraternite interact with, and influence, existing British idioms of inclusion and exclusion? Chapter three explores the revolutionary signifier, egalite, and the associated concepts of democracy, meritocracy, socialism and communism. Finally, chapter four examines the interplay of an egalitarian, revolutionary liberte with older British conceptions of liberty, liberties, privilege, property, and patriarchy. In examining the interplay of liberte and egalite with analogous British terms both chapters suggest that by 1848 British political discourse owed more to the French paradigm than the editors of the Bristol press cared to admit
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bristol ; French revolution