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Tudor women writing: Multimodal style and identity in the English letters and prose of Queen Katherine Parr and Princess Elizabeth

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-09, 11:44 authored by Mel A. Evans
This paper investigates how the stylistic choices of sixteenth-century female writers can be understood as an act of identity when read in their local and public contexts. Focusing on the mid-sixteenth-century writings of two elite women, Princess Elizabeth, and her stepmother, Queen Katherine Parr, I investigate the extent to which each woman develops a distinctive “voice” for their religious prose in contrast to their vernacular epistolary writing, and how such stylistic efforts can be interpreted within the contemporary constraints of permitted female literary practice and vernacular language norms. The analysis uses the sociolinguistic concept of style to explore how features combine to achieve particular stylistic goals, as realised within written documents. Material features (such as layout and ink colours) combine with morphosyntactic properties to suggest that each woman had an idea of a specific vernacular style for her religious prose writing, as opposed to her correspondence, and that Parr and Elizabeth shared a similar concept of what this style should constitute. The article concludes by considering how quantitative stylometric findings cohere with the fine-grained analyses, and identifies similarities between Parr’s and Elizabeth’s prose and Coverdale’s English Bible, suggesting its stylistic influence on their work.

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Citation

Evans, Mel. 2016. Tudor women writing: Multimodal style and identity in the English letters and prose of Queen Katherine Parr and Princess Elizabeth. In Minna Nevala, Ursula Lutzky, Gabriella Mazzon & Carla Suhr (eds.), The Pragmatics and Stylistics of Identity Construction and characterisation (Studies in Variation, Contacts and Change in English 17). Helsinki: VARIENG.

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of English

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Evans

Publisher

VARIENG at the University of Helsinki

issn

1797-4453

Copyright date

2016

Available date

2017-05-16

Publisher version

http://www.helsinki.fi/varieng/series/volumes/17/evans/

Language

en

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