Roads, Judith (2015)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This study ascertains what is recognisably distinctive about seventeenth-century Quaker prose compared to other contemporary varieties of prose, and identifies characteristic features of that style. By compiling and investigating through corpus analysis techniques a collection of texts from a wide range of authors, I reveal key elements of the language through quantitative methods not previously applied to this subject. The study is not genre-based nor is it a literary investigation of a single author. The corpus is unusual in comprising texts by many different people within the same community of practice, demonstrating a remarkable uniformity of style and discourse.
Typical stylistic features include a speech-like informal register, idiosyncratic syntax and sentence length, and I suggest reasons why Quakers developed this sociolect. In key Quaker lexis I found unexpected frequencies and usage, including findings that differ from assertions in the critical literature. Corpus analysis provides new insights into early Quakerism as well as establishing a new mode of research. My findings clarify understanding of early Quaker writing, experience and practice, dispelling some present-day misconceptions.
|Type of Work:||Ph.D. thesis.|
|Supervisor(s):||Mason, Oliver and Thompson, Paul and Adlington, Hugh|
|School/Faculty:||Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law|
|Department:||School of English, Drama, American & Canadian Studies, Department of English|
|Institution:||University of Birmingham|
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