Promising Language: Betrothal in Victorian Law and Fiction

Promising Language: Betrothal in Victorian Law and Fiction

by Randall Craig
     
 

Promising Language explores the linguistic and social ramifications of promising, and specifically promising to marry, in Victorian fiction. The concept of the promise - as speech act, as social practice and legal contract, and as structural principle and topos - lies at the intersection of several emergent nineteenth-century discourses: the science of language… See more details below

Overview

Promising Language explores the linguistic and social ramifications of promising, and specifically promising to marry, in Victorian fiction. The concept of the promise - as speech act, as social practice and legal contract, and as structural principle and topos - lies at the intersection of several emergent nineteenth-century discourses: the science of language (notably etymology and philology), utilitarian jurisprudence (especially the freedom of contract applied to personal relations), and the aesthetics of the novel (predominantly realism). With this in mind, Craig offers new readings of several classic Victorian novels, including Pickwick Papers, Jane Eyre, Adam Bede, The Egoist, and The Wings of the Dove.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791444252
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
12/01/1999
Pages:
331
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword: Cross Your Fingers ...
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Promising: Language/Narrative/Law1
Ch. 1Language and the Victorians19
Ch. 2Victorian Promises47
Ch. 3Legal Fictions: Narrating Breach of Promise77
Ch. 4Engaging Lies in Jane Eyre121
Ch. 5Right Speaking in Adam Bede153
Ch. 6Promising Marriage in The Egoist185
Ch. 7Questioning Rhetoric in Can You Forgive Her?213
Ch. 8Dying Promises in The Wings of the Dove247
Afterword: Cross Your Heart ...279
Notes283
Works Cited313
Cases Cited325
Index327

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