The role of scribes in constructing the discourse of the Salem witchcraft trials
This study examines the practices of scribes who recorded the examinations of those accused of witchcraft in Salem in 1692. The data consists of 68 records of examinations held between March and October 1692 and in January 1693. Each record is coded for two features: use of contextual commentary and evaluative adjectives or adverbs which suggest attitudes and values of the scribes and reflect the pragmatic context. Records are also coded according to presentation in direct discourse or reported discourse. Records presented in direct discourse and those occurring in the early period of the trials contain the greatest number of both contextual commentary and evaluative/subjective adjectives or adverbs. The analysis reveals that the majority of the records are written by four identified scribes.
Keywords: context and ideology, scribal practices, trial discourse, reported speech, Salem witchcraft
Published online: 06 February 2007
Cited by 11 other publications
Doty, Kathleen L. & Risto Hiltunen
Grund, Peter J.
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