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144 Reviews The second appendix is on the fourteenth-century ordo which was preserved in a register in the Chambre des Contes but burnt in 1737. R. Ian Jack Department of History University of Sydney Burke, Peter, The art of conversation, Cambridge and Oxford, Polity Pres and Blackwell, 1993; paper; pp.viii, 178; R.R.P. AUS$34.95 [distributed in Australia by Allen & Unwin]. This set of five long essays is concerned with the social history of language in Europe, not focussing on the (near) contemporary so much as noting that many modern notions about sociolinguistics may be supported or qualified by topics neglected by them because of their falling in Renaissance or Early Modern times. This social history of speaking and communication, which is necessarily related to oral history, culture, and social behaviour, challenges the central notion of the dominant language of the ruling class by considering the language of leisure, as did Veblen, and the language of politics, particularly Latin, and by showing the paramount significance of Fishman's inquiry, 'who speaks what language to w h o m and when'. Thus notice is given at the outset (pp. 9 ff.) of the need to look closely at much earlier evidence for the language of women, religious minorities such as the 'Huguenots', social pretentiousness, national loyalty, bilingualism in frontier regions, and the reasons for the language of official documents. The languages of resistance of the twentieth century had many parallels in Europe three and four hundred years ago. The second chapter constitutes a sketch for the social history of postmedieval Latin and stresses these essential paradoxes: that the Protestants who wished to reject Latin in the Church were often better Latinists than the Catholic champions of the language; that humanists 'killed' Latin as a living language; and that Latin remained vigorous in various European domains until relatively recent times. The issue of the scriptures in the vernacular had a long history from the fourteenth century on. Catholic services occurred in a multiplicity of European contexts. And, more than 528 non-biblical translations into Latin were published between 1485 and 1799 (p. 41). 'Pragmatic Latin', the practical use of the language is shown to have lingered long as the language of law, domestic politics, diplomacy, Reviews 145 and travel, and as a linguafranca in exotic places. Merton College, Oxford, still used it for its accounts in the 1870s. The third chapter is concerned with issues of language and identity in early modern Italy, defining communities, much as they had also been defined by bonding myth, as in the case of the c o m m o n stories of Trojan descent. For it was the passage from myth and ritual to language that Burke sees as the watershed in the fixing of 'national identity' (p. 88). The art of conversation is investigated in many European contexts and shown to reflect in various unexpected ways subtle changes in the societies of Europe. It is argued that theriseof these particular subtleties took place in Renaissance Italy and that they were repeated in many treatises which made explicit norms which were usually implicit. Urbanitas and badinage are teased out in various contexts from the proliferation of manuals available in the age of print. Particular emphasis is given to much published works such as Castiglione's Cortegiano (1528) and Della Casa's Galateo (1558). This is followed by consideration of the writing in England of Francis Bacon, Cleland (1607), Allestree (1673) and Locke (1693), and the evidence of diaries and their comparable informal style. The salon is also considered, as also is the speech of the earliest novelists. Chapter five is entitled: 'Notes for a social history of silence in Early Modem Europe'. It catalogues the varied contexts relevant here: ceremonial, male discriminatory, manipulative, religious, Cisterian, educational, Byzantine, prudent, protective, dignified, monarchical, theatrical, and, finally, Protestant. The last, it is stressed, showed: ' . . . the gap between the more silent, self-controlled, individualistic, democratic, capitalist, cold north, and the more talkative, spontaneous, disorderly, familistic, feudal, warm south' (p. 141). Peter Burke has worked in Europe and all the essays are refreshingly 'Euro-centric', despite their rich use of English authors and cultural situations. However one...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 144-145
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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