All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Christopher Minnix

Advisory Committee Members

Bruce McComiskey

Jill Clements

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts in Education (MAE) School of Education


Scholarship on Quaker rhetoric has frequently neglected the subversive possibilities of Quaker pamphleteering, particularly in the period following the publication of Robert Barclay’s Apology. This article develops an epistemological framework based on the Apology and demonstrates that although Quaker pamphleteers during this “Quietist” period asserted the honesty and transparency of their use of language, the Apology works to license certain circumlocutionary moves which Quaker authors used to obscure potentially seditious or heretical ideas. It focuses on two classical rhetorical figures, paralipsis and aposiopesis. Through a close reading of pamphlets written before and after the publication of the Apology, it demonstrates that Quaker pamphleteers developed sophisticated techniques to embed subversive ideas in their work through the stylistic figures of paralipsis and aposiopesis, thus maintaining strict truthfulness without exposing themselves to persecution. Particular emphasis is given to the longstanding notion in Quaker rhetorical studies of speech and silence as cultural focuses, and the article builds on recent revisions which emphasize the metaphorical character of silence as a tool for concealing Quaker linguistic productions.

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