Edited by Bettelou Los, Claire Cowie, Patrick Honeybone and Graeme Trousdale
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 358] 2022
► pp. 287–308
Using a Critical Discourse Analysis approach (Fairclough 1992) which combines micro and macro level analysis, this article explores how the social relationship of a privileged couple, Mary Hamilton (1756–1816) and John Dickenson (c.1757–1842), is negotiated during their courtship in 1784–85 on the basis of Hamilton’s letters in the Mary Hamilton Papers (HAM/2/15), held by The University of Manchester Library. The focus lies on two moments of crisis in which Hamilton criticises Dickenson’s behaviour concerning letter-writing and hunting practices. The couple seems to follow the ideals of the companionate marriage which emerged in the eighteenth century: they treat each other as equals, which allows Hamilton to be outspoken about her opinions, and the partners accommodate to each other’s positions.