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Sir Thomas More and the art of dialogue Lakowski, Romauld I.

Abstract

In this study I present an analysis of the structures of four works by Sir Thomas More: The History of Richard III, the 'Dialogue of Counsel' in Book I of Utopia, The Dialogue Concerning Heresies, and The Dialogue of Comfort in Tribulation. My basic thesis is that Thomas More was a superb literary artist and a master of the art of literary dialogue, and that beneath the often apparently rambling and digressive surface of each of these literary works, there is a 'deep structure' that is highly coherent and even tightly organised. I also show that More's use of dialogue in each of the three dialogues is genuinely dialectical—that the individual speakers in the three literary dialogues make a genuine contribution to thedevelopment of the argument—and that the movement from speaker to speaker in the History of Richard III is also genuinely dialectical— anticipating the art of the three later dialogues. To this end I have provided an interpretive reading/analysis of each of the works, focussing on More's "art of dialogue" in the passages of direct and indirect speech in Richard III, and in the dialogues between Hythloday and Persona More in Book I of Utopia, between Chancellor More and the Messenger in the Dialogue Concerning Heresies, and between Vincent and Anthony in the Dialogue of Comfort. The thesis also includes a major bibliographical appendix, consisting of about two thousand items of More scholarship organised according to topic. (The Bibliography is quite comprehensive covering all of More's works and also background studies and biographies.) The appendix is provided both as part of my argument and as a tool for further research.

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