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Impression management in the Early Modern English courtroom

Archer, DE (2019) Impression management in the Early Modern English courtroom. Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 19 (2). pp. 205-222. ISSN 1566-5852

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Abstract

This paper draws upon three texts from the trial section of the Corpus of English Dialogues, in order to explore the tactical impression management strategies used by Early Modern English courtroom participants (defendants, judges, lawyers and witnesses). I will demonstrate that modern impression management strategies (identified with other activity types in mind) are in evidence in the texts, as are additional courtroom-specific strategies. I discuss the nuances of these impression management tactics, in light of (a) the obvious power differences between the participants involved, (b) the need to be perceived as credible in this legal setting, and (c) their convergence with particular types of face(work).

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