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Advice and Discontent

Title: Advice and Discontent: Staging Identity through Legal Representation on the British Stage, 1660-1800.
Name(s): Cerniglia, Sarah Morrow, author
Burke, Helen M., 1950-, professor directing dissertation
Upchurch, Charles, 1969-, university representative
Daileader, Celia R., committee member
Ward, Candace, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Arts and Sciences, degree granting college
Department of English , degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Doctoral Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2017
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (203 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: One of the key issues that arises when discussing the long eighteenth century is that of identity: self/individual, and group/national. Whereas recent critical work in both literary studies and historiography has concerned itself with the circumstances surrounding the long eighteenth century's fundamental shifts in conceptions of identity, much of this work overlooks the potential for identity to be relational, rather than either exterior or interior to an individual/group. This dissertation explores the relational nature of identity formation in the long eighteenth century by examining a literary genre and a character that depend upon relational interactions in order to sustain themselves: stage comedies and lawyers. Representative dramatic comedies by writers such as George Farquhar, Richard Cumberland, Thomas Lewis O'Beirne, William Wycherly, Christopher Bullock, Henry Fielding, John O'Keeffe, Colley Cibber, George Colman and David Garrick, and Samuel Foote, offer opportunities to study staged representations of lawyers whose clients' issues essentially become those of identity formation. This dissertation argues that, for many characters struggling to establish an identity that can participate in a national British identity, the key to such participation lies in access to real property; when access to real property is denied them, they must turn to someone who is himself struggling to establish an identity. At this point, lawyers in eighteenth-century British comedies become much more than stock characters or mere comic relief. Instead, the lawyer—often ostracized and derided himself—becomes a mediator not just of individual identity, but of "Britishness." Careful attention to lawyers' success representing different types of clients struggling to establish identities through access to real property highlights both the power of relational identity formation and the key roles that arguably minor characters have in arbitrating issues of national significance.
Identifier: FSU_2017SP_Cerniglia_fsu_0071E_13700 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of English in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2017.
Date of Defense: March 27, 2017.
Keywords: British drama, British literature, Eighteenth century, Identity, Law and literature
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Helen M. Burke, Professor Directing Dissertation; Charles Upchurch, University Representative; Celia R. Caputi, Committee Member; Candace Ward, Committee Member.
Subject(s): British literature
Irish literature
English literature
Theater -- History
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Cerniglia, S. M. (2017). Advice and Discontent: Staging Identity through Legal Representation on the British Stage, 1660-1800. Retrieved from