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The public voices of Daniel Defoe

Muller, Andreas Karl Ewald (2005) The public voices of Daniel Defoe. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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This is a study of Daniel Defoe's political rhetoric and polemical strategies
between the years 1697 and 1717. It explores and analyses a representative selection
of what may be termed Defoe's `public voices'. In its broadest definition, these public
voices are understood to be the opinions expressed and the rhetorical stances taken by
Defoe in those pieces of his writing which directly or indirectly relate to the sphere of
official, governmental and national discourse and activity. In the most basic sense,
this thesis attempts to highlight and explain the way in which the language, imagery
and concerns of Defoe's publications were shaped by the events and attitudes of the
historical moment at which they were produced. In the process, this study re-situates,
and thus necessarily re-evaluates, the voices and apparent meanings of some of
Defoe's better known texts, while offering extensive investigations of the rhetorical
strategies of publications which have previously been neglected by Defoe scholars.
In the context of the above, an attempt is made to demonstrate that the poem
The True-Born Englishman (1701) was not only a response to xenophobic sentiments
prevalent in English society at the turn of the century but did, in fact, represent
Defoe's final, summative contribution to the standing army controversy of the late
1690s. On a similar note, this thesis aims to show that the verse satire Jure Divino
(1706) was the culmination of Defoe's involvement in the occasional conformity
controversy of the early 1700s and constituted on important element of his campaign
in favour of religious toleration. In addition, I argue that volume one of The Family
Instructor (1715) was Defoe's response to the Jacobite-inspired unrest of the years
1714-15 and, as such, represented an important political act. Finally, this study offers
an extensive investigation of one of Defoe's most problematic publications, An
Argument Proving that the Design of Employing and Tnobling Foreigners, Is a
Treasonable Conspiracy (1717). The pamphlet, I suggest, represented a highly ironic
attack on one of Defoe's old adversaries, John Toland, and only develops its full
rhetorical force if read in the context of the standing army controversy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID:
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
Depositing User: Sharon Beastall
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2010 09:14
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2015 22:29


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