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Title: Monologue and dialogue in French revolutionary rhetoric
Author: Getova, Radosveta Valtchanova
ISNI:       0000 0001 3495 4599
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis investigates the relationship between rhetoric and power in the context of the cultural production of the French Revolution. It illustrates how power and rhetoric became inextricably linked in the revolutionary story and its history by exploring the discourse, constructed by the radicals in parliamentary speeches, the visual art, revolutionary songs, theatre, and public decapitation to imprint their story on the minds of their audiences. In this way, the revolutionaries' evolving perception and interpretation of meaning and power is elucidated through the metaphor of rhetoric as violence. The methodological approach is an application of Bakhtin's dialogue/monologue framework to the two main periods of the French Revolution: the creative beginnings interpreted as a vast dialogue, and the period of the Terror where monologue increasingly appears to dominate. It is argued that in effect the interplay of monologue and dialogue governed the entire rhetorical production of the radicals in the use of the revolutionary epic and the menippea: the epic being the 'centripetal forces; running the monological construct of the 'new order', and menippea operating as the subversive 'centrifugal forces' of dialogue, which reveals itself through parody and the carnivalesque of caricature, songs, utopian radical theatre, and the parallel festival culminating in the case study of the spectacle of the guillotine. Exploring the tensions between the epic and the menippea adds a further dimension to the study. The conclusion, drawing on Bakhtin's concept of dialogism highlights another aspect of the monologue/dialogue dichotomy through the struggle between revolutionary innovation and tradition. Banned by the revolutionaries who aspired to make a clean break with the past, tradition still fought its way into the new cultural forms and remains in the revolutionary symbols, which are embedded in the French cultural heritage to the present day.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available