Chapter published in:English Historical Linguistics: Change in structure and meaning. Papers from the XXth ICEHL
Edited by Bettelou Los, Claire Cowie, Patrick Honeybone and Graeme Trousdale
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 358] 2022
► pp. 287–308
Chapter 12Towards a companionate marriage in Late Modern England?
Two critical episodes in Mary Hamilton’s courtship letters to John Dickenson
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.
Keywords: Late Modern English, historical pragmatics, critical discourse analysis, intertextuality, letters, diaries, social relationships, courtship
- 4.Social practice: Courtship and marriage in the upper classes in eighteenth-century England
- 5.Two case studies
- 5.1Discursive practice: Letter frequency
- 5.2‘Text’ dimension: Hunting
- 6.Concluding remarks
Published online: 02 February 2022
Dickenson family of Birch Hall. Lancashire Archives.
Mary Hamilton Papers
The University of Manchester Library (GB 133 HAM). http://luna.manchester.ac.uk/luna/servlet/Manchester~11~11 (24 April, 2019)
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