Shakespeare and Social Dialogue: Dramatic Language and Elizabethan Letters

Synopsis

Shakespeare and Social Dialogue develops a systematic analysis of the rhetoric of social exchange in early modern England. Magnusson brings together writings, particularly letters, from the Elizabethan period that are normally read as historical documents and compares them with Shakespeare's play texts and sonnets. Using techniques from discourse analysis and linguistic pragmatics, especially "politeness theory," she argues that Shakespeare's language is rooted in the everyday language of Elizabethan culture. The author's readings bridge the gap between new historicism and linguistic criticism.