Performatively Speaking: Speech and Action in Antebellum by Debra J. Rosenthal

By Debra J. Rosenthal

In Performatively Speaking, Debra Rosenthal attracts on
speech act conception to open up the present severe dialog approximately antebellum American fiction
and tradition and to discover what occurs whilst writers use phrases not only to symbolize motion but
to represent motion itself. interpreting moments of discursive motion in a number of canonical and
noncanonical works—T. S. Arthur's temperance stories, Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall,
Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Harriet Beecher Stowe's
Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick—she
indicates how phrases act whilst writers not carry to a distinction among writing and doing.

The writer investigates, for instance, the voluntary self-binding nature of a
promise, the formulaic yet transformative temperance pledge, the ability of Ruth Hall's signature
or identify on criminal files, the punitive hate speech of Hester Prynne's scarlet letter
A, the prohibitory vodun hex of Simon Legree's slave Cassy, and Captain
Ahab's injurious insults to moment mate Stubb. via her comparative method and
historicist and feminist readings, Rosenthal asks readers to reconsider the ways in which speech and
motion intersect.

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