Christine Michele Norris

The rhetoric of cookbooks in eighteenth-century England

Christine Michele Norris

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2003 pp: 126
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
  • Source: DAI-A 65/03, p. 917, Sep 2004
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric and Composition (0681)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-496-71507-3
  • UMI Number: AAT 3124199

Abstract:

    Eighteenth-century England produced a large number of influential cookbooks. Cookbook writers in this century, however, seem divided about what constitutes the appropriate scope and form of a well-written text. These divides over field standards for writing can generally be defined as a struggle between elite court cookbook writers and common country cookbook writers to determine the way the field should develop. This dissertation examines three issues facing eighteenth-century cookbook writers in shaping the conventions of their field: the role of the plain style in writing cookbooks and in creating recipes; the appropriate manner of citing previously published material and avoiding plagiarism, and the proper way to introduce innovative or novel recipes into a collection. The dissertation offers a comparative analysis of the writing styles of key eighteenth-century British cookbook writers, including Charles Carter, John Farley, Hannah Glasse, Elizabeth Raffald, and William Verrall. The study shows that rather than creating a coherent set of field standards for good writing, cookbook writing developed into high and low subfields, each with their own standards for good writing, documentation, and innovation.