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Interjections of silence: the poetics and politics of radical protestant writing 1642-1660

Pick, Peter Richard (2000)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

In this thesis I have undertaken a close reading of texts by William Walwyn, Abiezer Coppe and James Nayler. In reading Nayler, I have also engaged with texts by Richard Farnsworth and Richard Baxter. My approach has been to consider these writings in their own terms and right, rather than merely as contextual sidelights on literary or social matters. I believe that all writing expresses aesthetic concerns and social attitudes. I hope my study will contribute to a necessary and continuing project of recovering such voices, so often marginalised and considered either as symptoms of mental disorder, or simply of no literary value. I have applied Bakhtinian perspectives and Discourse Analysis in my readings, although I hope not to the detriment of the writers' own understanding of their work, as I am reluctant to impose ahistorical interpretations on the writings of a previous era. I believe many misunderstandings arise from such procedures. I have not wished to apply a strategic reading to these texts, but rather to recover what they meant for their writers and readers at the extraordinary moment which produced them. I have attempted to integrate them in their own historical context, to explain difficulties arising in their interpretation, to explore their theology and social message, and as far as possible to relate them to the literary history from which they have been largely divorced. The thesis is not intended as a general review of pamphlet literature, of which there are several valuable examples, but as exploration and explanation of specific writings by representatives of the 'Radical Protestant' movements known as Levellers, Ranters and Quakers.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Humanities
Department:Department of English
Subjects:PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:244
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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