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Title: A Cultural History of Silence in England 1500-1800
Author: Bain, Alastair G. D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 031X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis is a cultural-historical discussion of the role and significance of silence in shaping aspects of belief and practice in early modern England.  It proposes that silence was significant and formative not just as a relative absence of sound but also as a recognised characteristic of certain forms of behaviour. Thus, it was figured in the modification, control or suppression of speech; in actions such as gesture and bodily comportment; and in conditions such as obedience, subordination, humility, piety, and patience.  Some forms of silence also derived from, and influenced, human relationships with the natural world. The main areas of discussion are family and community life; religion; death and the afterlife; the restricted means of communication exemplified in deafness and dumbness, and connections between silence and solitude. However, further threads run through the thesis.  These include the relationship of silence to social order, sins of the tongue, personal fulfilment, the exercise of authority, and approaches to God, nature, spirituality, and religious asceticism.  Another important consideration is the extent to which the expectation and understanding of silence varied over the three centuries in question, particularly as a consequence of increasing rates of literacy, changes in household and family dynamics, and between pre- and post-Reformation theologies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available