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ERIC Number: ED172581
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Role and Variety in Popular American Fiction: The Case of the Dime Novel.
Crowell, Michael
Dialect writing in nineteenth-century America has been used as a source of evidence about popular American language and culture. Works employing dialect have been studied as documents embodying perceptions of the relation between character, role, and moral values on the one hand, and speech variety on the other. Critics have noticed the difference between the pompous narration in many of the works and the colorful dialect of the characters in them. One study of the dime novel centered on the development of the American hero and demonstrated the improtance of dialect as an indicator of social standing and moral worth in the popular world view found in dime novels. By shifting attention to the varieties of language used in dime novels one can gain insight into attitudes toward language in its social setting. The conspicuous use of exaggerated varieties of English apparently indicates the importance attached to variation by both authors and the reading public. This paper analyzes the relation between the varieties of the dialect used in one dime novel and judgments about the oriqin, roles, and moral worth of its characters. The popularity of these books suggests that such an analysis can add an historical perspective to the understanding of current attitudes toward languages. (Author/AMH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the joint meeting of the American Dialect Society and the Conference on New Ways of Analyzing Variation in English (7th, Washington, D.C., November 3, 1978)