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Title:Lord Kames's "Elements of Criticism" in Context
Author(s):Manolescu, Beth Innocenti
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Conley, Thomas M.
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Speech Communication
Abstract:I argue that Elements of Criticism is best understood as advocating a method of critical practice that addresses contemporary social, political, and nationalistic circumstances. It uses principles of human nature not simply as an intellectual response to the new philosophy, but rather for pedagogical purposes in the interests of social mobility. The first part of the dissertation focuses on Elements itself and the second part on Kames's other major works. In the first part, I provide a detailed summary of Elements in order to highlight its principles of organization and critical method, and to introduce some of the leading features of its context. Kames's Shakespeare criticism serves as a case study to more fully detail these intellectual, social, political, and nationalistic features. In the second part, I show that Kames also uses principles of human nature for pedagogical purposes in the interests of social mobility throughout his career and in different subject matters: law and history. Kames's legal career and legal works show how principles of human nature helped him to gain professional notice as well as to appeal to readers of polite taste. I more fully detail this latter audience---middling readers---with reference to Kames's Sketches of the History of Man. In this work, too, we see that Kames uses principles of human nature to organize a vast amount of detail selected in part for the purposes of informing and entertaining middling readers. The continuity of the circumstances Elements addressed---such as interests in displaying taste and in science---contributed to the use of Elements as a rhetoric textbook through the nineteenth century. The changes in circumstances---such as an interest in scientific progress, increasingly egalitarian views of education, and world war---contributed to its later dismissal.
Issue Date:2000
Description:462 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9990073
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2000

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