Abstract

Abstract:

This article examines how the speech patterns that distinguished the early Quaker movement took on new significance as they were recorded and circulated in print. Drawing on work in linguistic anthropology, it argues that seventeenth-century Quakers and their opponents discussed religious difference not only in terms of doctrine or practice but also in terms of metadiscourse—that is, language about the properties of language and its function both within religious communities and across an emerging public sphere. The essay also revisits the Quaker author Thomas Ellwood's (1639–1713) claim that he inspired John Milton to compose his final verse epic Paradise Regained and suggests some ways in which Quaker theories of language can illuminate ideas of literary production in the period.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0383
Print ISSN
0039-3738
Pages
pp. 606-626
Launched on MUSE
2020-07-08
Open Access
No
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