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Humanities 2018, 7(4), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040100

Performing Devotion: Belief, the Body, and the Book of Common Prayer 1775–1840

King’s College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1ST, UK
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 4 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 17 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Anatomy of Inscription)
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Abstract

This article examines three texts published between 1775 and 1840 that attempt to model an ideal reading of the Anglican liturgy and to render it on the printed page, exploring the ways in which elocutionary instruction, acting theory and accounts of public worship intersect within them through the figures of inscription and incorporation. Reflecting on the choice of the famous actor David Garrick as an exemplary reader in the two later texts, and drawing on the work of Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler, it discusses how and why these texts attempt to regulate competing ideas regarding the concepts of performance, embodiment, and assembly. The argument is made that although prescriptive in their demands, to varying degrees these texts acknowledge their own insufficiencies, and recognise not merely the difficulty of the task of transposing oral performance to a series of textual signs, or of accounting for the nature of devout worship, but also a more fundamental excess and irreducibility in the constitution of the self. View Full-Text
Keywords: elocution; speech; print; liturgy; Church of England; Garrick; theatre; performativity; assembly elocution; speech; print; liturgy; Church of England; Garrick; theatre; performativity; assembly
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Davies, L. Performing Devotion: Belief, the Body, and the Book of Common Prayer 1775–1840. Humanities 2018, 7, 100.

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